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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

      2007-Coverage: For Richer,
      For Poorer, In Sickness and
      In Health

      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
          Conference Highlights
          Participant List
          Papers Presented

      2003-Coverage Dynamics and
      the Uninsured

      2002-Expanding the Dialogue
      on the Uninsured

      2001-Agenda Setting

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


Home > Conferences & Events Home > Consumer Preferences and Coverage Choices > Conference Highlights

Ann Arbor Research Conferences

Consumer Preferences and Coverage Choices Research Conference

July 18 – 20, 2004
Ann Arbor, Michigan

The ten papers presented at the 2004 summer conference resulted from investigator-initiated research projects funded by ERIU. Many of the papers focus on individual or firm level decision-making regarding health insurance coverage.

 Conference Highlights | Participant List | Papers Presented
Conference Paper
Bansak, Cynthia
Raphael, Steven
The Effects of State Outreach Efforts on Take up and Crowd Our Rates for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (PDF) Little is known about the effectiveness of state efforts to enroll children in State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP). Bansak and Raphael find that only 10 percent of income eligible children participated in SCHIP in 2001. They examine variation in participation across states as well as the substitution of public for private coverage, looking at a variety of outreach programs and measures to prevent crowd-out that have been adopted by the states. Project Summary
Blumberg, Linda
Cancian, Maria
Do Workers Have a Choice and Sort Strategically for Employer Sponsored Insurance Offers? (PDF) If the labor market was in a competitive equilibrium, only workers who are not willing to forego the wages required to obtain an employer offer of health insurance would be without health insurance, i.e., having a job without health insurance would be voluntary. Because individuals do not costlessly move from labor market to labor market, however, we cannot make that claim. Blumberg and Cancian find that the extent to which workers are constrained in finding a job with the preferred mix of wages and benefits varies across markets. They also find that a substantial share of workers not offered health insurance may be constrained by the minimum wage in trading off wages and benefits. Project Summary
Bundorf, M. Kate
Pauly, Mark V.
The Uninsured: Risk, Income, and "Affordability" of Coverage (PDF) Bundorf and Pauly address the assumption that high premiums make health insurance unaffordable to people with high expected medical costs. Defining health risk as expected medical costs given a person's medical condition, they find that the probability of having health insurance rises both with health risk and income. This finding is contrary to the prediction that the sickest people are priced out of the health insurance market. Project Summary
Ellis, Randall P.
Ma, Albert C. T.
Health Insurance, Expectations, and Job Turnover (PDF) Smaller firms, especially those with low job-specific human capital requirements (for example, many quick service restaurants), may not need to offer health insurance to attract needed workers. In fact, not offering health insurance may help smaller firms attract relatively healthy workers. Ellis and Ma investigate this hypothesis, emphasizing the role of expectations about health costs rather than actual costs in the decision made by the smallest firms. Project Summary
Fang, Hanming
Silverman, Dan
Beliefs About Future Health and the Demand for Health and Health Insurance (PDF) In general, what people expect to happen in the future shapes how they behave today. However, Fang and Silverman find that beliefs about how long one will live are only weakly associated with current health behaviors such as engaging in vigorous exercise or obtaining preventive health screenings and holding health insurance. General optimism, a measure of the degree to which people provide optimistic answers about a variety of possible future events, does show a relationship with health insurance coverage: people with more optimistic views are more likely to have health insurance. Project Summary
Hill, Steven C.
Kreider, Brent
Health Care Utilization Patterns Among the Uninsured: What Can Be Learned from Data with Arbitrary Insurance Reporting Error? (PDF) Studies of the relationship between health insurance status and an array of health outcomes implicitly assume that health insurance status is accurately recorded in the dataset being used. Hill and Kreider exploit the fact that the Medical Expenditure Panel Study (MEPS) follows up on what individuals said about having health insurance through employers by contacting the employers who are reported to provide the coverage. Hill and Kreider use this validating information to calculate bounds on the true number with private health insurance status and show what happens as assumptions about truth of self-reports are relaxed. Project Summary
Lang, Kevin
Kang, Hong
Worker Sorting, Health Insurance Coverage and Wages (PDF) Some employers offer health insurance with no requirement for an employee premium co-payment. Some offer it with an employee contribution requirement, and others do not offer health insurance. Lang and Kang examine how the tax treatment of health insurance affects the employer's choice. They find the employers' decisions are strongly influenced by employees' tax rates. Without favorable tax treatment, fewer employers would offer health insurance. Project Summary
Maxwell, Nan L.
Paringer, Lynn
English Language, Skills, and Health Benefits (PDF) Workers with less formal education are less likely to have health insurance through an employer. There is little understanding of how skills, independent of formal education levels, influence one's chances of getting a job with health insurance. Workers whose primary language spoken at home is not English make up 20 percent of the California workforce but 40 percent of uninsured workers. Maxwell and Paringer analyze two California surveys and find English language skills bring a real advantage in obtaining health insurance. Project Summary
Monheit, Alan C.
Vistnes, Jessica Primoff
Health Insurance Enrollment Decisions: Understanding the Role of Preferences for Coverage (PDF) Economists believe choices reflect preferences. The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) asked respondents a variety of questions about attitudes towards risk and health insurance; for example, do they agree or disagree with the statement that health insurance is not worth the money it costs. Monheit and Vistnes find persons without health insurance are more likely to have weak or uncertain preferences for health insurance. They use this information to consider what subsidy would be required to induce those with weak preferences to enroll in health insurance. Project Summary
Royalty, Anne Beeson
Abraham, Jean
Health Insurance and Labor Market Outcomes: Joint Decision-Making Within Households (PDF) The question of how one spouse's health insurance coverage influences another spouse's labor market participation is difficult to answer satisfactorily. Many decisions are jointly made, so it is difficult to disentangle marginal causal effects of one spouse's decisions on the other's behavior. Royalty and Abraham argue that a spouse's health insurance has an effect on one's own sick leave and use paid sick leave to identify the effect of spousal health insurance. Using this instrument, they find a spouse's insurance has a negative effect on being offered health insurance by one's own employer, on working full time, and on working at a large establishment. Project Summary