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eriu: Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured Initiating and disemminating research to spark new policy discussion on health coverage issues.
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Ann Arbor Research Conferences

      2006-To Have and To Hold, In
      Sickness and In Health?

      2006-Tax, Regulate, Spend:
      Policy Impacts on Health

      2005-Coverage Impacts
      Across the Lifespan

      2004-Vulnerable Populations

      2004-Consumer Preferences and
      Coverage Choice

      2003-Coverage Dynamics and
      the Uninsured

      2002-Expanding the Dialogue
      on the Uninsured

      2001-Agenda Setting
          Conference Highlights
          Participant List
          Papers Presented

Washington D.C. Joint Conference   
      Health Insurance   
      Congressional Testimony
      ERIU Book Release


Home > Conferences & Events Home > Research Agenda Setting Conference >Conference Highlights

Ann Arbor Research Conferences

Research Agenda Setting Conference

July 8 - 10, 2001
Ann Arbor, Michigan

This initial ERIU conference focused on what we know and don't know about the factors influencing who has and who doesn't have health insurance coverage in the U.S.  Findings from the conference helped guide ERIU's priorities for funded research

 Conference Highlights | Participant List | Papers Presented
Conference Paper
Blumberg, Linda
Nichols, Len
Why Are So Many Americans Uninsured? A Conceptual Framework, Summary of the Evidence, and Delineation of the Gaps in Our Knowledge (PDF) The Linda Blumberg and Len Nichols paper led to a discussion of what it is that people value about health insurance. The economic analysis of health insurance emphasizes the insurance protection against high risks, but the under-consumption that public subsidies are meant to correct relates to routine health care services. A puzzle awaiting resolution is the inconsistency between the cross-section data that suggests worker decisions to buy health insurance are not very price sensitive and the time-series data that shows a falling take up rate over the 1980's and 90's. Project Summary
Chernew, Michael
Hirth, Richard
Modeling the Causes and Consequences of Lack of Health Insurance Coverage: Gaps in the Literature (PDF)

Michael Chernew's and Richard Hirth's paper led to a discussion of how the predictions of economic theory play out in employment-based health insurance.

The question of how to measure the price of health insurance remains open. The price is clearly not the premium, which bundles health care services and loading, but loading alone is an imperfect measure of the amount paid for the insurance aspect of health insurance. More problematic is determining how much a firm that does not offer health insurance would pay if it began to offer coverage. Even if we had an ideal measure of price, how individuals respond to price is not well understood. Do individuals make a rational assessment of the risks they face without health insurance?

Another important area not well understood is employee sorting. If employees perfectly sorted, one would expect some firms to offer bare-bones plans, and yet these are not observed. What are the constraints on process by which workers with varying valuations of health insurance sort into employers?

Project Summary
Gruber, Jonathan
Madrian, Brigitte
Health Insurance, Labor Supply, and Job Mobility: A Critical Review of the Literature (PDF) Jonathan Gruber and Brigitte Madrian identified future challenges for what has become a well developed field. One remaining puzzle is why so few part-time jobs come with health insurance. Also underdeveloped is family decision making for married couples, including how to model joint decisions made by husbands and wives when the decisions have health insurance consequences. Project Summary
Levy, Helen
Meltzer, David
What Do We Really Know About Whether Health Insurance Affects Health? (PDF) The Helen Levy and David Meltzer paper evoked a discussion of the value of health insurance. Is health insurance the most cost-effective way to improve the health status of those who do not have health insurance? Absent experimental evidence, the question of how health insurance relates to health relies on analyses that are plagued by health insurance status being correlated with some other variable of interest, making measurement of health insurance's effects elusive. Project Summary
Pollack, Harold
Kronebusch, Karl
Health Insurance and Vulnerable Populations (PDF) The Harold Pollack and Karl Kronebusch paper brought about a discussion of how difficult it is to discern the effects of lack of health insurance from the many other factors that make vulnerable populations vulnerable. Project Summary
Short, Pamela Farley Counting and Characterizing the Uninsured (PDF) While one might think counting the uninsured would be straight-forward and accomplished long ago, Pamela Farley Short's paper showed that it is neither straight-forward nor settled. The number and characteristics of those who are uninsured at a point in time differ from those who are uninsured at any time over the course of a year (a bigger number than the point in time number) and those who are uninsured all the year (smaller than the point in time number). Many questions about the sources and implications of dynamics of moving back and forth between insured and uninsured remain open. Project Summary