Assistant Professor, Health Research & Policy
Ph.D., MIT, Economics (2014)
B.A., Yale University, Economics & Mathematics (2008)
Conventional wisdom suggests that if private health insurance plans compete alongside a public option, they may endanger the latter's financial stability by cream-skimming good risks. This paper argues that two factors may contribute to the extent of cream-skimming: (i) degree of horizontal differentiation between public and private options when preferences are heterogeneous; (ii) whether contract design encourages choice of private insurance before information about risk is revealed. I explore the role of these factors empirically within the unique institutional setting of the German health insurance system. Using a fuzzy regression discontinuity design to disentangle adverse selection and moral hazard, I find no compelling support for extensive cream-skimming of public option by private insurers despite their ability to fully underwrite risk. A model of demand for private insurance supports the idea that heterogeneity in non-pecuniary preferences and long-term structure of private insurance contracts may be muting cream-skimming in this setting.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2016.06.012
View details for Web of Science ID 000384869400012
View details for PubMedID 27454199