The value of health insurance: The access motive

John A. Nyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Why do people purchase health insurance? Many economists would answer that it permits purchasers to avoid risk of financial loss. This note suggests that health insurance is also demanded because it represents a mechanism for gaining access to health care that would otherwise be unaffordable. For example, although a US$300,000 procedure is unaffordable to a person with US$50,000 in net worth, access is possible through insurance because the annual premium is only a fraction of the procedure's cost. The value of insurance for coverage of unaffordable care is derived from the value of the medical care that insurance makes accessible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-152
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1999


  • Access motive
  • Expected utility
  • Health insurance

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The value of health insurance: The access motive'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this