Consumer Decision Making in the Individual Health Insurance Market

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 25, no. 3, May/June 2006, p. W226-W234

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by M. Susan Marquis, Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin, Jose J. Escarce, Kanika Kapur, Thomas A. Louis, Jill M. Yegian

Read More

Access further information on this document at Health Affairs

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This paper summarizes the results from a study of consumer decision making in California's individual health insurance market. The authors conclude that price subsidies will have only modest effects on participation and that efforts to reduce nonprice barriers might be just as effective. They also find that there is substantial pooling in the individual market and that it increases over time because people who become sick can continue coverage without new underwriting. Finally, the authors show that people prefer more-generous benefits and that it is difficult to induce people in poor health to enroll in high-deductible health plans.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.