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The Demand for Private Health Insurance: Do Waiting Lists Matter?” – Revisited


  • Meliyanni Johar

    (University of Technology Sydney)

  • Glenn Jones

    () (University of Technology Sydney)

  • Michael P. Keane

    () (Nuffield College and Department of Economics, University of Oxford)

  • Elizabeth Savage

    (University of Technology Sydney)

  • Olena Stavrunova

    (University of Technology Sydney)


Besley, Hall and Preston (JPubEc, 1999) investigate how waiting for medical treatment in public hospitals influences the decision to buy private health insurance, which covers faster private treatment. They find sizable positive impacts which have subsequently been influential on waiting lists management policies. This paper re-examines this result, in particular the sensitivity to the use of waiting lists as a proxy for waiting times. It is found that waiting lists do not predict private health insurance demand, and that the impact of waiting time in motivating the purchase of insurance has been overstated.

Suggested Citation

  • Meliyanni Johar & Glenn Jones & Michael P. Keane & Elizabeth Savage & Olena Stavrunova, 2013. "The Demand for Private Health Insurance: Do Waiting Lists Matter?” – Revisited," Economics Papers 2013-W09, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:nuf:econwp:1309

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov & Soderqvist, Tore, 1998. "Time spent on waiting lists for medical care: an insurance approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 627-644, October.
    2. Carol Propper, 1995. "The Disutility of Time Spent on the United Kingdom's National Health Service Waiting Lists," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 677-700.
    3. Besley, Timothy & Hall, John & Preston, Ian, 1999. "The demand for private health insurance: do waiting lists matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 155-181, May.
    4. Mireia Jofre-Bonet, 2000. "Public health care and private insurance demand: The waiting time as a link," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 51-71, January.
    5. Neil J. Buckley & Katherine Cuff & Jeremiah Hurley & Logan McLeod & Robert Nuscheler & David Cameron, 2012. "Willingness-to-pay for parallel private health insurance: evidence from a laboratory experiment," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(1), pages 137-166, February.
    6. Meliyanni Johar & Glenn Jones & Michael Keane & Elizabeth Savage & Olena Stavrunova, 2010. "Waiting times and the decision to buy private health insurance. CHERE Working Paper 2010/9," Working Papers 2010/9, CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney.
    7. Colm Harmon & Brian Nolan, 2001. "Health insurance and health services utilization in Ireland," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(2), pages 135-145.
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    More about this item


    health insurance; waiting time; waiting lists;

    JEL classification:

    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private

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