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What Do People Buy When They Don't Buy Health Insurance And What Does that Say about Why They are Uninsured?

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  • Helen Levy
  • Thomas DeLeire

Abstract

Using data from the 1994 through 1998 Consumer Expenditure Surveys, we compare household spending on 16 different goods (food at home, food away from home, housing, transportation, alcohol and tobacco, interest, furniture and appliances, home maintenance, clothing, utilities, medical care, health insurance, entertainment, personal care, education, and other) for insured versus uninsured households, controlling for total expenditures and demographic characteristics. The analysis shows that the uninsured in the lowest quartile of the distribution of total expenditures spend more on housing, food at home, alcohol and tobacco, and education than do the insured. In contrast, households in the top quartile of the distribution of total expenditures spend more on transportation and furniture and appliances than do comparable insured households. These results are consistent with the idea that poor uninsured households face higher housing prices than do poor insured households. Further research is necessary to determine whether high housing prices can help explain why some households do not have insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • Helen Levy & Thomas DeLeire, 2003. "What Do People Buy When They Don't Buy Health Insurance And What Does that Say about Why They are Uninsured?," NBER Working Papers 9826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9826
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shore-Sheppard, Lara & Buchmueller, Thomas C. & Jensen, Gail A., 2000. "Medicaid and crowding out of private insurance: a re-examination using firm level data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 61-91, January.
    2. Jonathan Gruber & Ebonya Washington, 2003. "Subsidies to Employee Health Insurance Premiums and the Health Insurance Market," NBER Working Papers 9567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alan B. Krueger & Helen Levy, 1996. "Accounting for the Slowdown in Employer Health Care Costs," Working Papers 749, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    4. Farber, Henry S. & Levy, Helen, 2000. "Recent trends in employer-sponsored health insurance coverage: are bad jobs getting worse?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 93-119, January.
    5. Cardon, James H & Hendel, Igal, 2001. "Asymmetric Information in Health Insurance: Evidence from the National Medical Expenditure Survey," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 408-427, Autumn.
    6. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber, 1996. "Does Public Insurance Crowd out Private Insurance?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 391-430.
    7. Hanushek, Eric A & Quigley, John M, 1980. "What Is the Price Elasticity of Housing Demand?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(3), pages 449-454, August.
    8. 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.
    9. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
    10. repec:fth:prinin:370 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Alan Krueger & Helen Levy, 1996. "Accounting for the Slowdown in Employer Health Care Costs," Working Papers 749, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Joseph J. Capuno & Stella A. Quimbo & Aleli D. Kraft & Carlos Antonio R. Tan, Jr., 2012. "The effects of term limits and yardstick competition on local government provision of health insurance and other public services : The Philippine case," UP School of Economics Discussion Papers 201201, University of the Philippines School of Economics.
    2. Sherry A. Glied, 2008. "Mandates and the Affordability of Health Care," NBER Working Papers 14545, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7734 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/1926 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jean Marie Abraham & Thomas DeLeire & Annne Beeson Royalty, 2007. "Health Insurance, Pensions, and Paid Leave: Access to Health Insurance at Small Firms in a Broader Benefit Context: Working Paper 2007-08," Working Papers 18725, Congressional Budget Office.
    6. Carine Milcent, 2010. "Healthcare access for migrants in China : A new frontier," Working Papers halshs-00575014, HAL.
    7. Ramón Castaño & Andrés Zambrano, 2007. "Aseguramiento para la población pobre: una herramienta de protección financiera," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 002026, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.

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    JEL classification:

    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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