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Credit, Default, and Optimal Health Insurance

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  • Jang, Youngsoo

Abstract

How do defaults and bankruptcies affect optimal health insurance policy? I answer this question using a life-cycle model of health investment with the option to default on emergency room (ER) bills and financial debts. I calibrate the model for the U.S. economy and compare the optimal health insurance in the baseline economy with that in an economy with no option to default. With no option to default, the optimal health insurance is similar to the health insurance system in the baseline economy. In contrast, with the option to default, the optimal health insurance system (i) expands the eligibility of Medicaid to 22 percent of the working-age population, (ii) replaces 72 percent of employer-based health insurance with a private individual health insurance plus a progressive subsidy, and (iii) reforms the private individual health insurance market by improving coverage rates and preventing price discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions. This result implies that with the option to default, households rely on bankruptcies and defaults on ER bills as implicit health insurance. More redistributive healthcare reforms can improve welfare by reducing the dependence on this implicit health insurance and changing households’ medical spending behavior to be more preventative.

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  • Jang, Youngsoo, 2019. "Credit, Default, and Optimal Health Insurance," MPRA Paper 95397, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:95397
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    1. Credit, Default, and Optimal Health Insurance
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2019-09-01 22:14:59

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credit; Default; Bankruptcy; Optimal Health Insurance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • K35 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Personal Bankruptcy Law

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