Publications on Health Insurance

Health care coverage protects individuals against the financial risk that might result from spending on health care services. In the United States, coverage may take the form of insurance offered by private companies and made available to individuals through employers or purchased directly. The government also provides coverage for certain populations via programs such as Medicare or Medicaid. RAND research on health care coverage dates from the RAND Health Insurance Experiment (HIE). Conducted in the 1970s and early 1980s, the HIE remains the only long-term, experimental study of cost sharing and its effect on health care utilization and spending, quality of care, and health. Since then, RAND studies have examined multiple dimensions of coverage, including the effects of premium costs on health care use, the cost and potential health effects of new insurance products such as high-deductible health plans, the challenges faced by small businesses in providing coverage to employees, the groups most at risk for being uninsured, state experiments with insuring the uninsured, coverage for behavioral health, and coverage for prescription drugs.