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Limited Attention and the Demand for Health Insurance

  • Fels, Markus
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    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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    File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/80485/1/VfS_2013_pid_584.pdf
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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
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.socialpolitik.org/
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    1. Fang, Hanming & Keane, Michael & Silverman, Dan, 2006. "Sources of Advantageous Selection: Evidence from the Medigap Insurance Market," Working Papers 17, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    2. Florian Heiss & Daniel McFadden & Joachim Winter, 2010. "Mind the Gap! Consumer Perceptions and Choices of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans," NBER Chapters, in: Research Findings in the Economics of Aging, pages 413-481 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2005. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," NBER Working Papers 11755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Lee C. Vermeulen & Marian V. Wrobel, 2012. "Comparison Friction Experimental Evidence from Medicare Drug Plans," Mathematica Policy Research Reports b5b408501b0147b89b7d124e8, Mathematica Policy Research.
    5. 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.
    6. Adam Szeidl & Botond Koszegi, 2011. "A Model of Focusing in Economic Choice," 2011 Meeting Papers 1441, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Heiss, Florian & Leive, Adam & McFadden, Daniel & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Plan selection in Medicare Part D: Evidence from administrative data," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 65406, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. 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.
    9. Jeffrey Liebman & Richard Zeckhauser, 2008. "Simple Humans, Complex Insurance, Subtle Subsidies," NBER Working Papers 14330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 2011. "How individuals choose health insurance: An experimental analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 799-819, August.
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