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Non-linear price schedules, demand for health care and response behavior

Author

Listed:
  • Helmut Farbmacher;
  • Joachim Winter

Abstract

When health insurance reforms involve non-linear price schedules tied to payment periods (for example, a quarter or a year), the empirical analysis of its effects has to take the within-period time structure of incentives into account. The analysis is further complicated when demand data are obtained from a survey in which the reporting period does not coincide with the payment period. We illustrate these issues using as an example a health care reform in Germany which imposed a perquarter fee of e10 for doctor visits and additionally set an out-of-pocket maximum. This co-payment structure results in an effective "spot" price for a doctor visit which decreases over time within each payment period. Using this variation, we find a substantial effect of the new fee, in contrast to earlier studies of this reform. Overall, the probability of visiting a physician decreased by around 2.5 percentage points in response to the new fee for doctor visits. We verify the key assumptions of our approach using a separate data set of insurance claims in which the reporting period effects are absent by construction.

Suggested Citation

  • Helmut Farbmacher; & Joachim Winter, 2012. "Non-linear price schedules, demand for health care and response behavior," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/15, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:12/15
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    File URL: https://www.york.ac.uk/media/economics/documents/herc/wp/12_15.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Schreyögg, Jonas & Grabka, Markus M., 2010. "Copayments for Ambulatory Care in Germany: A Natural Experiment Using a Difference-in-Difference Approach," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 331-341.
    2. Amanda Kowalski, 2016. "Censored Quantile Instrumental Variable Estimates of the Price Elasticity of Expenditure on Medical Care," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 107-117, January.
    3. Aviva Aron-Dine & Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Mark Cullen, 2012. "Moral hazard in health insurance: How important is forward looking behavior?," Discussion Papers 11-007, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    4. Winkelmann, Rainer, 2006. "Reforming health care: Evidence from quantile regressions for counts," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 131-145, January.
    5. Rainer Winkelmann, 2004. "Co-payments for prescription drugs and the demand for doctor visits - Evidence from a natural experiment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(11), pages 1081-1089.
    6. Augurzky, Boris & Bauer, Thomas K. & Schaffner, Sandra, 2006. "Copayments in the German Health System - Do They Work?," RWI Discussion Papers 43, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
    7. Augurzky, Boris & Bauer, Thomas K. & Schaffner, Sandra, 2006. "Copayments in the German Health System: Does It Work?," IZA Discussion Papers 2290, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    health economics; non-linear pricing; response behavior; natural experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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