Does health insurance decrease health expenditure risk in developing countries? The case of China
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Streeter 2015 Southern Postprint.pdf
Streeter, Jialu Liu
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EmbargoThis version of the article is available for viewing to the public after September 30, 2017.
SubjectHealth insurance; medical spending; two-part model; bivariate sample selection model; China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS)
This article studies the impact of health insurance on individual out-of-pocket health expenditures in China. Using China Health and Nutrition Survey data between 1991 and 2006, we apply two-part and sample selection models to address issues caused by censored data and selection on unobservables. We find that, although the probability of accessing health care increases with the availability of health insurance, the level of out-of-pocket health expenditure decreases. Our results from a selection model with instrumental variables suggest that having health insurance reduces the expected out-of-pocket health expenditure of an individual by 29.42% unconditionally. Meanwhile, conditional on being subjected to positive health expenditure, health insurance helps reduce out-of-pocket spending by 44.38%. This beneficial effect of health insurance weakens over time, which may be attributable to increases in the coinsurance rates of health insurances in China.