The Demand for Health Insurance among Uninsured Americans: Results of a Survey Experiment and Implications for Policy
Most existing work on the price elasticity of demand for health insurance focuses on employees' decisions to enroll in employer-provided plans. Yet any attempt to achieve universal coverage must focus on the uninsured, the vast majority of whom are not offered employer-sponsored insurance. In the summer of 2008, we conducted a survey experiment to assess the willingness to pay for a health plan among a large sample of uninsured Americans. The experiment yields price elasticities substantially greater than those found in most previous studies. We use these results to estimate coverage expansion under the A ordable Care Act, with and without an individual mandate. We estimate that 39 million uninsured individuals would gain coverage and find limited evidence of adverse selection.
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