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Do the age profiles of health care expenditure really steepen over time? New evidence from Swiss cantons

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  • Felder, Stefan
  • Werblow, Andreas

Abstract

The red herring hypothesis contends that the high health care expenditure in old age is caused by proximity to death rather than calendar age. Dissenters point to longitudinal data and claim that health care expenditure age profiles tend to steepen over time. The present paper tests the steepening claim for Swiss health insurance, covering the time period 1997 to 2006 and 25 cantons. It analyzes the cantonal health care expenditure profile of men and women, taking into account differences in the mortality rates. The study covers seven components of health care, including long-term care. By and large, no evidence is found for relevant steepening effects of age profiles for either total, or the components, of health care expenditure.

Suggested Citation

  • Felder, Stefan & Werblow, Andreas, 2008. "Do the age profiles of health care expenditure really steepen over time? New evidence from Swiss cantons," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 05/08, Technische Universität Dresden, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuddps:0508
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/36494/1/590241524.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andreas Werblow & Stefan Felder & Peter Zweifel, 2007. "Population ageing and health care expenditure: a school of 'red herrings'?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(10), pages 1109-1126.
    2. Florian Buchner & Jürgen Wasem, 2006. "“Steeping” of Health Expenditure Profiles," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 31(4), pages 581-599, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wong, Albert & Wouterse, Bram & Slobbe, Laurentius C.J. & Boshuizen, Hendriek C. & Polder, Johan J., 2012. "Medical innovation and age-specific trends in health care utilization: Findings and implications," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 263-272.
    2. Stefan Felder, 2013. "The Impact of Demographic Change on Healthcare Expenditure," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 11(1), pages 03-06, 04.
    3. Viktor von Wyl & Konstantin Beck, 2014. "Risk adjustment in aging societies," Health Economics Review, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 1-14, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ageing; health care expenditure; end-of-life expenditure;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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