IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/9855.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Tax Credits and the Use of Medical Care

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Smart
  • Mark Stabile

Abstract

Several recent proposals have advocated using the income tax system to collect user fees to help fund the health care system. While there is a considerable amount of research investigating both how individuals respond to tax incentives for employer provided health insurance and on the effects of user fees payable at the point of service on the use of health care services, there is limited evidence on how individuals respond to tax incentives when these are not realized until taxes are paid. This paper uses existing exemptions in the Canadian tax code that allow individuals to deduct the cost of health care or health insurance from their taxable income in order to identify the tax price elasticity of demand for health care when price changes are realized at the end of the tax year. Our results suggest that despite not realizing the tax benefit at the time of purchase, individuals are quite responsive to changes in the tax price of health care. Our elasticity estimates for a wide range of health care products are well within the range of traditional price elasticity estimates, including in particular our estimates for prescription drugs. We also find some evidence that suggests individuals trade off risk sharing through traditional insurance companies with risk sharing through the tax code. That is, as the tax price of health care decreases, individuals spend more on health care, but spend less on health insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Smart & Mark Stabile, 2003. "Tax Credits and the Use of Medical Care," NBER Working Papers 9855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9855
    Note: HE PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9855.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David M. Cutler, 2003. "Employee Costs and the Decline in Health Insurance Coverage," NBER Chapters, in: Frontiers in Health Policy Research, Volume 6, pages 27-54, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bridget Terry Long, 2003. "The Impact of Federal Tax Credits for Higher Education Expenses," NBER Working Papers 9553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Mark Stabile, 2001. "Private insurance subsidies and public health care markets: evidence from Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 921-942, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Michael Smart & Mark Stabile, 2005. "Tax credits, insurance, and the use of medical care," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 38(2), pages 345-365, May.
    2. Kosteas, Vasilios D. & Renna, Francesco, 2014. "Plan choice, health insurance cost and premium sharing," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 179-188.
    3. Velamuri, Malathi, 2009. "Taxes, Health Insurance and Women’s Self-Employment," MPRA Paper 15731, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. George B. Bulman & Caroline M. Hoxby, 2015. "The Returns to the Federal Tax Credits for Higher Education," Tax Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 13-88.
    5. Buchmueller, Thomas, 2006. "Price and the health plan choices of retirees," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 81-101, January.
    6. Vasilios Kosteas & Francesco Renna, 2009. "The Impact of Job Displacement on Employer Based Health Insurance Coverage," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 317-327, December.
    7. Ellen Meara & Meredith Rosenthal & Anna Sinaiko & Katherine Baicker, 2008. "State and Federal Approaches to Health Reform: What Works for the Working Poor?," NBER Working Papers 14125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Christine Neill, 2013. "What You Don't Know Can't Help You: Lessons of Behavioural Economics for Tax-Based Student Aid," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 393, November.
    9. Bednar, Steven & Gicheva, Dora, 2013. "Tax benefits for graduate education: Incentives for whom?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 181-197.
    10. Lori J. Curtis & William J. MacMinn, 2008. "Health Care Utilization in Canada: Twenty-five Years of Evidence," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 34(1), pages 65-88, March.
    11. Susan Dynarski & Judith Scott-Clayton & Mark Wiederspan, 2013. "Simplifying Tax Incentives and Aid for College: Progress and Prospects," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 27, pages 161-201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Deri, Catherine, 2005. "Social networks and health service utilization," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1076-1107, November.
    13. Christian Bjørnskov & Niklas Potrafke, 2012. "Political Ideology and Economic Freedom Across Canadian Provinces," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 143-166.
    14. Bergman, Peter & Denning, Jeffrey T. & Manoli, Dayanand, 2017. "Broken Tax Breaks? Evidence from a Tax Credit Information Experiment with 1,000,000 Students," IZA Discussion Papers 10997, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. William W. Olney, 2013. "Immigration And Firm Expansion," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 142-157, February.
    16. Monheit, Alan C. & Vistnes, Jessica Primoff, 2005. "The demand for dependent health insurance: How important is the cost of family coverage?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1108-1131, November.
    17. Wang, Chao & Li, Qing & Sweetman, Arthur & Hurley, Jeremiah, 2015. "Mandatory universal drug plan, access to health care and health: Evidence from Canada," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 80-96.
    18. Bolhaar, Jonneke & Lindeboom, Maarten & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2012. "A dynamic analysis of the demand for health insurance and health care," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 669-690.
    19. Mark Stabile & Sarah Thomson, 2014. "The Changing Role of Government in Financing Health Care: An International Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(2), pages 480-518, June.
    20. Lehrer, Steven F. & Pereira, Nuno Sousa, 2007. "Worker sorting, compensating differentials and health insurance: Evidence from displaced workers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1034-1056, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9855. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.