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Limited Attention and the Demand for Health Insurance

  • Fels, Markus

We analyze how customers with limited attention value and choose among health plans. We show how the model can accommodate three observations regarding plan choice. First, people tend to overweight the premium and thus underappreciate the value of health insurance. Second, insurance companies may have a strong incentive to reduce quality and to hide these shortcomings in the fine print while attracting customers with insufficiently lower premiums. Finally, the willingness-to-pay for insurance is subadditive creating an incentive for providers to unbundle comprehensive plans. We discuss how these three effects may result in a fundamental dilemma for policy makers.

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order with number 80485.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:80485
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  1. repec:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2013:i:1:p:53-104 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Hanming Fang & Michael P. Keane & Dan Silverman, 2006. "Sources of Advantageous Selection: Evidence from the Medigap Insurance Market," NBER Working Papers 12289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Laibson, David I. & Gabaix, Xavier, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," Scholarly Articles 4554333, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 2011. "How individuals choose health insurance: An experimental analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 799-819, August.
  5. Heiss, Florian & Leive, Adam & McFadden, Daniel L. & Winter, Joachim, 2013. "Plan selection in Medicare Part D: Evidence from administrative data," Munich Reprints in Economics 19428, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Johnson, Eric J, et al, 1993. " Framing, Probability Distortions, and Insurance Decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 35-51, August.
  7. Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Lee Vermeulen & Marian Wrobel, 2011. "Comparison Friction: Experimental Evidence from Medicare Drug Plans," NBER Working Papers 17410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Florian Heiss & Daniel McFadden & Joachim Winter, 2007. "Mind the Gap! Consumer Perceptions and Choices of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans," NBER Working Papers 13627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Adam Szeidl & Botond Koszegi, 2011. "A Model of Focusing in Economic Choice," 2011 Meeting Papers 1441, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Iyengar, Sheena S. & Kamenica, Emir, 2010. "Choice proliferation, simplicity seeking, and asset allocation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(7-8), pages 530-539, August.
  11. Frank, Richard G. & Lamiraud, Karine, 2009. "Choice, price competition and complexity in markets for health insurance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 550-562, August.
  12. Jeffrey Liebman & Richard Zeckhauser, 2008. "Simple Humans, Complex Insurance, Subtle Subsidies," NBER Working Papers 14330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Heiss, Florian & McFadden, Daniel L. & Winter, Joachim, 2006. "Who failed to enroll in Medicare Part D, and why? Early results," Munich Reprints in Economics 19427, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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