The Role of Agents and Brokers in the Market for Health Insurance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Health insurance markets in the United States are characterized by imperfect information, complex products, and substantial search frictions. Insurance agents and brokers play a significant role in helping employers navigate these problems. However, little is known about the relations between the structure of the agent/broker market and access and affordability of insurance. This article aims to fill this gap by investigating the influence of agents/brokers on health insurance offering decisions of small firms, which are particularly vulnerable to problems of financing health insurance. Using a unique membership database from the National Association of Health Underwriters together with a nationally representative survey of employers, we find that small firms in more competitive agent/broker markets are more likely to offer health insurance and at lower premiums. Moreover, premiums are less dispersed in more competitive agent/broker markets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-34
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Risk and Insurance
Volume85
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

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Health insurance
Broker
Insurance
Small firms
Employers
Premium
Search frictions
Complex product
Data base
Health
Underwriters
Financing
Affordability
Imperfect information
Insurance market

Cite this

The Role of Agents and Brokers in the Market for Health Insurance. / Karaca-Mandic, Pinar; Feldman, Roger; Graven, Peter.

In: Journal of Risk and Insurance, Vol. 85, No. 1, 01.03.2018, p. 7-34.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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