Can the Health Insurance Reforms stop an increase in medical costs of middle- and old-aged persons in Japan?
Using two-period panel data from the Nippon Life Insurance Research Institute, this paper tests the hypothesis that an increase in the self-pay ratio of medical expenditures associated with the Japanese health insurance reforms of April 2003 reduced individual medical costs. We find that the increase in the self-pay ratio of medical expenditures has a trivial effect on household medical expenses, implying that a decrease in the quantity demanded for medical services offsets the increase in medical costs. However, according to quantile regression estimates, an increase in the self-pay ratio of medical expenditures has a significantly positive effect on the share of medical costs for relatively high quantile values. This provides corroborating evidence that an increase in the self-pay ratio cannot cut the demand for medical services relatively more for those bearing a higher share of medical costs in household expenditure. An additional finding is that medical services are a necessity good, particularly for those with a relatively high share of medical costs in household expenditure.
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|Date of creation:||Apr 2010|
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|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.econ.osaka-u.ac.jp/|
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- Atsushi Yoshida & Shingo Takagi, 2002. "Effects of the Reform of the Social Medical Insurance System in Japan," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 53(4), pages 444-465.
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