The Problem of the Uninsured

35 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2012

See all articles by Isaac Ehrlich

Isaac Ehrlich

State University of New York at Buffalo - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Chicago - University of Chicago Press; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Yong Yin

State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo - College of Arts & Sciences - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Abstract

The problem of the uninsured – those eschewing the purchase of health insurance policies – cannot be fully understood without considering informal alternatives to market insurance called "self-insurance" and "self-protection", including the publicly and charitably-financed safety-net health care system. This paper tackles the problem of the uninsured by formulating a "full-insurance" paradigm that includes all 4 measures of insurance as interacting components, and analyzing their interdependencies. We apply both a baseline and extended versions of the model through calibrated simulations to estimate the degree to which these non-market alternatives can account for the fraction of the non-elderly adults who are uninsured, and estimate their behavioral and policy ramifications. Our results indicate that policy analyses that do not consider the role of self-efforts to avoid health losses can grossly distort the success of the ACA mandate to insure the uninsured and to improve the health and welfare outcomes of the previously uninsured.

Keywords: health insurance, health care, uninsured, self-insurance, self-protection

JEL Classification: G22, H42, I13, I28

Suggested Citation

Ehrlich, Isaac and Yin, Yong, The Problem of the Uninsured. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6920, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2164649

Isaac Ehrlich (Contact Author)

State University of New York at Buffalo - Department of Economics ( email )

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Yong Yin

State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo - College of Arts & Sciences - Department of Economics ( email )

Buffalo, NY 14260
United States

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