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The Effect of State Community Rating Regulations on Premiums and Coverage in the Individual Health Insurance Market

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  • Bradley Herring
  • Mark V. Pauly

Abstract

Some states have implemented community rating regulations to limit the extent to which premiums in the individual health insurance market can vary with a person?s health status. Community rating and guaranteed issues laws were passed with hopes of increasing access to affordable insurance for people with high-risk health conditions, but there are concerns that these laws led to adverse selection. In some sense, the extent to which these regulations ultimately affected the individual market depends in large part on the degree of risk segmentation in unregulated states. In this paper, we examine the relationship between expected medical expenses, individual insurance premiums, and the likelihood of obtaining individual insurance using data from both the National Health Interview Survey and the Community Tracking Study Household Survey. We test for differences in these relationships between states with both community rating and guaranteed issue and states with no such regulations. While we find that people living in unregulated states with higher expected expense due to chronic health conditions pay modestly higher premiums and are somewhat less likely to obtain coverage, the variation between premiums and risk in unregulated individual insurance markets is far from proportional; there is considerable pooling. In regulated states, we find that there is no effect of having higher expected expense due to chronic health conditions on neither premiums nor coverage. Overall, our results suggest that the effect of regulation is to produce a slight increase in the proportion uninsured, as increases in low risk uninsureds more than offset decreases in high risk uninsureds. Community rating and guaranteed issue regulations produce only small changes in risk pooling because the extent of pooling in the absence of regulation is substantial.

Suggested Citation

  • Bradley Herring & Mark V. Pauly, 2006. "The Effect of State Community Rating Regulations on Premiums and Coverage in the Individual Health Insurance Market," NBER Working Papers 12504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12504
    Note: HC HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Buchmueller & John Dinardo, 2002. "Did Community Rating Induce an Adverse Selection Death Spiral? Evidence from New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 280-294, March.
    2. Davidoff, Amy & Blumberg, Linda & Nichols, Len, 2005. "State health insurance market reforms and access to insurance for high-risk employees," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 725-750, July.
    3. Herring, Bradley, 2005. "The effect of the availability of charity care to the uninsured on the demand for private health insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 225-252, March.
    4. repec:mpr:mprres:4922 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Frick, Kevin D, 1998. "Consumer Capital Market Constraints and Guaranteed Renewable Insurance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 271-278, July-Aug..
    6. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    7. Herring, Bradley & Pauly, Mark V., 2006. "Incentive-compatible guaranteed renewable health insurance premiums," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 395-417, May.
    8. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Multiproduct Firms, Product Differentiation, and Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    9. Bundorf, M. Kate & Pauly, Mark V., 2006. "Is health insurance affordable for the uninsured?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 650-673, July.
    10. Manning, Willard G. & Mullahy, John, 2001. "Estimating log models: to transform or not to transform?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 461-494, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Eric French & Hans-Martin von Gaudecker & John Bailey Jones, 2016. "The Effect of the Affordable Care Act on the Labor Supply, Savings, and Social Security of Older Americans," Working Papers wp354, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    2. Daniel McFadden & Carlos Noton & Pau Olivella, "undated". "Remedies for Sick Insurance," Working Papers 620, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    3. Norma Coe & Gopi Shah Goda, 2014. "How Much Does Access to Health Insurance Influence the Timing of Retirement?," Discussion Papers 14-007, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    4. Scott E. Harrington, 2010. "The Health Insurance Reform Debate," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 77(1), pages 5-38.
    5. Jeffrey Clemens, 2015. "Regulatory Redistribution in the Market for Health Insurance," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 109-134, April.
    6. Connelly, Luke B. & Brown III, H. Shelton, 2008. "Lifetime Fairness? Taxes, Subsidies, Age-Based Penalties, and the Price of Health Insurance in Australia," MPRA Paper 14671, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Bundorf M. Kate & Herring Bradley & Pauly Mark V., 2010. "Health Risk, Income, and Employment-Based Health Insurance," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(2), pages 1-35, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other

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