The Demand for Health Insurance Among Uninsured Americans: Results of a Survey Experiment and Implications for Policy
42 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2011 Last revised: 3 May 2011
Date Written: April 2011
Most existing work on the price elasticity of demand for health insurance focuses on employees' decisions to enroll in employer-provided plans. Yet any attempt to achieve universal coverage must focus on the uninsured, the vast majority of whom are not offered employer-sponsored insurance. In the summer of 2008, we conducted a survey experiment to assess the willingness to pay for a health plan among a large sample of uninsured Americans. The experiment yields price elasticities substantially greater than those found in most previous studies. We use these results to estimate coverage expansion under the Affordable Care Act, with and without an individual mandate. We estimate that 39 million uninsured individuals would gain coverage and find limited evidence of adverse selection.
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