Insurer competition and protection from risk redefinition in the individual and small group health insurance market

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13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Analyses of problems in the health insurance market usually focus on the individual and small group market. Consumers in this market who experience an illness or diagnosis of illness in one time period are likely to have their future risk redefined by insurers. Despite the fact that risk-averse consumers should desire protection against redefinition of risk, policies featuring that protection currently are not common in the individual and small group market. Contracts offering that protection must either be offered by pools that can guarantee replenishment of good risks over time, or be multiperiod contracts. Risk replenishment is impossible for individuals and may be technically difficult for many small groups. Also, the terms of multiperiod contracts with a single insurer may be unattractive to individuals and small groups, given the current structure of the market. Multiperiod contracts with a pool, rather than an individual insurer, may make it possible for individuals and small groups to enjoy the same advantages as consumers who obtain employment-based health insurance through large firms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-157
Number of pages10
JournalInquiry
Volume29
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

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