Per-period co-payments and the demand for health care: Evidence from survey and claims data

Helmut Farbmacher, Joachim Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

When health insurance reforms involve non-linear price schedules tied to payment periods (for example, fees levied by quarter or year), the empirical analysis of its effects has to take the within-period time structure of incentives into account. The analysis is further complicated when demand data are obtained from a survey in which the reporting period does not coincide with the payment period. We illustrate these issues using as an example a health care reform in Germany that imposed a per-quarter fee of €10 for doctor visits and additionally set an out-of-pocket maximum. This co-payment structure results in an effective 'spot' price for a doctor visit that decreases over time within each payment period. Taking this variation into account, we find a substantial reform effect - especially so for young adults. Overall, the number of doctor visits decreased by around 9% in the young population. The probability of visiting a physician in any given quarter decreased by around 4 to 8 percentage points.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1123
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Economics (United Kingdom)
Volume22
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • co-payments
  • health economics
  • natural experiment
  • non-linear pricing

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