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Age and Choice in Health Insurance: Evidence from Switzerland

Author

Listed:
  • Karolin Becker

    () (Plaut Economics, Olten)

  • Peter Zweifel

    () (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich)

Abstract

Elements of regulation inherent in most social health insurance systems are a uniform package of benefits and uniform cost sharing. Both elements risk to burden the population with a welfare loss if preferences differ. This suggests introducing more contracted choice; however, it is widely believed that this would not benefit the aged. This study examines the relationship between age and willingness-to-pay (WTP) for additional options in Swiss social health insurance. Through discrete choice experiments (DCE), a marked diversity of preferences can be established. The findings suggest that while the aged do exhibit more status quo bias, they require less rather than more specific compensation for selected cutbacks considered, pointing to potential for contracts that induce self-rationing in return for lower premiums.

Suggested Citation

  • Karolin Becker & Peter Zweifel, 2004. "Age and Choice in Health Insurance: Evidence from Switzerland," SOI - Working Papers 0410, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Jun 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:soz:wpaper:0410
    as

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    File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp_soi/wp0410.pdf
    File Function: revised version, 2007
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Strombom, Bruce A. & Buchmueller, Thomas C. & Feldstein, Paul J., 2002. "Switching costs, price sensitivity and health plan choice," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 89-116, January.
    2. Buchmueller, Thomas C. & Feldstein, Paul J., 1997. "The effect of price on switching among health plans," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 231-247, April.
    3. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387.
    4. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. "Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Rinaldo Brau & Matteo Lippi Bruni, 2008. "Eliciting the demand for long-term care coverage: a discrete choice modelling analysis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 411-433.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    willingness-to-pay; health insurance; age; rationing;

    JEL classification:

    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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