This paper was originally presented as testimony before the Subcommittee on Defense of the United States Senate Appropriations Committee on June 12, 1984. It reviews preliminary findings of the RAND Health Insurance Study, an experiment to learn the effects, both on families' use of medical service and on their health status, of requiring families to pay for a portion of their medical care services. The most important result concerning use was that families for whom all medical services were free spent about 50 percent more than families on the least generous plan (which required payment of 95 percent of bills up to a $1000 maximum). Results with respect to health status indicate that the average person's health changed very little, despite large changes in use; improvements were concentrated in low-income, sick individuals; such things as smoking, weight, and cholesterol levels were unaffected by increased encounters with physicians.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
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.