The Effect of Insurance Coverage on Preventive Care

16 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by Marika Cabral

Marika Cabral

University of Texas at Austin; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Mark R. Cullen

Stanford University

Date Written: July 2017


Despite the growth in health insurance products that differentially cover preventive care and nonpreventive care, little is known about how preventive care utilization responds to targeted changes in coverage. Using administrative data from a large company, this paper examines the implementation of an insurance benefit design which differentially increased the price of nonpreventive care while decreasing the price of prevention. Leveraging a difference‐in‐differences research strategy, we find that preventive care utilization did not increase and even declined due to the differential price change. This evidence indicates a meaningful negative cross‐price effect, suggesting that nonpreventive care and preventive care are complements.

JEL Classification: I13, I11

Suggested Citation

Cabral, Marika and Cullen, Mark R., The Effect of Insurance Coverage on Preventive Care (July 2017). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 55, Issue 3, pp. 1452-1467, 2017, Available at SSRN: or

Marika Cabral (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

Department of Economics
2225 Speedway, BRB 1.116, C3100
Austin, TX 78712
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Mark R. Cullen

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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