The Effect of Patient Cost Sharing on Utilization, Health, and Risk Protection
75 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2013
Date Written: December 2013
This paper exploits a sharp reduction in patient cost sharing at age 70 in Japan, using a regression discontinuity design to examine its effect on utilization, health, and financial risk arising from out-of-pocket expenditures. Due to the national policy, cost sharing is 60-80 percent lower at age 70 than at age 69. I find that both outpatient and inpatient care are price sensitive among the elderly. While I find little impact on mortality and other health outcomes, the results show that reduced cost sharing is associated with lower out-of-pocket expenditures, especially at the right tail of the distribution.
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