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Household Demand for Employer-Based Health Insurance

  • Jean Marie Abraham
  • William B. Vogt
  • Martin Gaynor

We use the 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to estimate a model of household demand for employer-based health insurance, explicitly investigating differences in behavior between households with two potential sources of coverage and those with one source. Own and cross-price elasticities are estimated for three types of health plans, including exclusive provider organizations, any provider organizations, and mixed provider organizations. We find that the premium, family size, income, and wealth significantly affect demand. Our elasticity estimates reveal an overall, small behavioral response to changes in price with respect to health plan switching and take-up. Finally, we discuss the implications of our findings with respect to employer benefit design.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9144.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Abraham, Jean Marie, William B. Vogt, William B., and Martin S. Gaynor. "How Do Households Choose Their Employer-Bases Health Insurance?" Inquiry 43, 4 (Winter 2006-2007): 315-32.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9144
Note: HC
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  1. Melissa W. Barringer & Olivia S. Mitchell, . "Workers' Preferences Among Company-Provided Health Insurance Plans," Pension Research Council Working Papers 94-5, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Marquis, M Susan & Phelps, Charles E, 1987. "Price Elasticity and Adverse Selection in the Demand for Supplementary Health Insurance," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(2), pages 299-313, April.
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  7. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  8. Feldstein, Martin S, 1973. "The Welfare Loss of Excess Health Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 251-80, Part I, M.
  9. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  10. Dranove, David & Spier, Kathryn E. & Baker, Laurence, 2000. "'Competition' among employers offering health insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 121-140, January.
  11. McFadden, Daniel, 1974. "The measurement of urban travel demand," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 303-328, November.
  12. Jonathan Gruber & Robin McKnight, 2002. "Why Did Employee Health Insurance Contributions Rise?," NBER Working Papers 8878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Charles E. Phelps, 1976. "Demand for Reimbursement Insurance," NBER Chapters, in: The Role of Health Insurance in the Health Services Sector, pages 115-162 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. David M. Cutler & Sarah Reber, 1996. "Paying for Health Insurance: The Tradeoff between Competition and Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 5796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Roger Feldman & Michael Finch & Bryan Dowd & Steven Cassou, 1989. "The Demand for Employment-Based Health Insurance Plans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(1), pages 115-142.
  16. Buchmueller, Thomas C. & Feldstein, Paul J., 1997. "The effect of price on switching among health plans," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 231-247, April.
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