The effect of the availability of charity care to the uninsured on the demand for private health insurance

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Abstract

The economic reasons why some people do not obtain health insurance are unclear. In this paper, I test the hypothesis that the availability of charity care to the uninsured reduces the likelihood of obtaining private coverage. I utilize variation in the availability of charity care across the different markets in the Community Tracking Study's Household Survey (CTS-HS) using an "access to care" measure of the uninsured's cost-related difficulties in obtaining medical care, to both aggregate across the various "safety net" providers and control for its potentially endogenous supply. I find evidence supporting this hypothesis for low-income people, in both the individual market and the employment-based group market. I also estimate a joint model of offer and take-up decisions for the group market sample and find that the availability of charity care reduces low-income workers' offer rates but not their take-up rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-252
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of health economics
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Charity care
  • Private health insurance
  • Uninsured

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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