Do people shift their use of health services over time to take advantage of insurance?

by Stephen H. Long, M. Susan Marquis, Jack Rodgers

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This paper provides a test of the hypothesis that people shift their consumption of health services to time periods when they have more generous insurance coverage, in order to take advantage of third-party payment. Data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation are used to compare utilization rates for people in transition between being insured and being uninsured to those of people who are continuously insured and continuously uninsured. Little support was found for the hypothesis that people anticipate changes in their insurance status and arrange their health care consumption accordingly.

Originally published in: Journal of Health Economics, v. 17, no. 1, pp. 105-115.

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