The Questionable Value of Having a Choice of Levels of Health Insurance Coverage
AbstractIn most health insurance markets in the United States, consumers have substantial choice about their health insurance plan. However additional choice is not an unmixed blessing as it creates challenges related to both consumer confusion and adverse selection. There is mounting evidence that many people have difficulty understanding the value of insurance coverage, like evaluating the relative benefits of lower premiums versus lower deductibles. Also, in most US health insurance markets, people cannot be charged different prices for insurance based on their individual level of health risk. This creates the potential for well-known problems of adverse selection because people will often base the level of health insurance coverage they choose partly on their health status. In this essay, we examine how the forces of consumer confusion and adverse selection interact with each other and with market institutions to affect how valuable it is to have multiple levels of health insurance coverage available in the market.
CitationEricson, Keith Marzilli, and Justin Sydnor. 2017. "The Questionable Value of Having a Choice of Levels of Health Insurance Coverage." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31 (4): 51-72. DOI: 10.1257/jep.31.4.51
- G22 Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
- H51 National Government Expenditures and Health
- I13 Health Insurance, Public and Private
- I18 Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health