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Monday, August 2 • 2:15pm - 3:45pm
2A3 Determinants and Consequences of Poor Decisions in Health Insurance

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Lan Zou, University of St. Gallen; Christian Biener, University of St. Gallen

This paper aims at understanding decision patterns and welfare effects of poor decisions in health insurance conditional on a large set of sociodemographic characteristics. Using population representative survey data collected by the Swiss Federal government, we show that consumers, on average, lose approximately 400 CHF due to non-optimal choice. We identify high levels of heterogeneity, indicating that it is particularly the low-income share of the population that demands lower coverage and face high losses from non-optimal choice and that saliency of health issues (e.g., via the presence of long-term chronic diseases) increases the probability to chose optimal high-coverage coverage levels. Our results have implications for policy design of the Swiss mandatory health insurance system and beyond as it provides insights into the welfare consequences of non-optimal choice in general.


Lan Zou

University Of St.Gallen

Christian Biener

University of St. Gallen

Monday August 2, 2021 2:15pm - 3:45pm EDT