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Is Health Insurance Affordable for the Uninsured?


  • M. Kate Bundorf
  • Mark V. Pauly


In this paper, we investigate the meaning of affordability' in the context of health insurance. Assessing the relationship between the affordability of coverage and the large number of uninsured in the U.S. is important for understanding the barriers to purchasing coverage for the uninsured and evaluating the role of policy in reducing this number. We propose several definitions of affordability and examine the implications of alternative definitions on estimates of the proportion of currently uninsured who are unable to afford coverage. We find that, depending on the definition, health insurance was affordable to between one-quarter and three-quarters of the uninsured in 2000.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Kate Bundorf & Mark V. Pauly, 2002. "Is Health Insurance Affordable for the Uninsured?," NBER Working Papers 9281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9281
    Note: HC

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Hirth & Reagan Baughman & Michael Chernew & Emily Shelton, 2006. "Worker preferences, sorting and aggregate patterns of health insurance coverage," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 259-277, December.
    2. Kevin Frick & Anthony Bopp, 2005. "Poverty: Insurance Theory and the Medically Uninsured," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 33(4), pages 451-459, December.

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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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