|Three essays on health care spending
|Year of Publication
|Rutgers The State University of New Jersey
|New Brunswick, NJ
|Demographics, Health Conditions and Status, Healthcare, Medicare/Medicaid/Health Insurance, Methodology, Other, Risk Taking
This dissertation is composed of three essays that consider the determinants and persistence of health care spending and how policies that control increasing health care costs affect the distribution of health care spending in the U.S. In the first essay, I study the association between education and health care spending for a set of health conditions amenable to self-management. Empirical findings from estimated health expenditure models reveal strong inverse relationships between education and health care spending among elderly adults with hypertension and/or asthma. Additionally, I find that greater educational attainment is associated with a reduced likelihood of being in the top 5% of health care spenders for elderly adults with hypertension and nonelderly adults with diabetes, and also with less severe conditions. The second essay assesses how the distribution of family out-of-pocket health care spending has been affected by changes in recent cost-sharing to understand the effectiveness of the risk protection function of private health insurance against high medical care expenses. The results suggest that families who rely more on health care because of one or more their member's existing health conditions are most affected by changes in cost sharing during the period 2001-2005 and the increased exposure to out-of-pocket spending occurrs primarily for families at higher percentiles of the out-of-pocket spending distribution, thus reducing the "return" to risk protection from holding private health insurance. The final essay examines the dynamics of out-of-pocket health care spending by looking at the persistence of such spending among Medicare beneficiaries. The findings suggest that having a certain chronic condition or a health shock clearly increases the probability of out-of-pocket health care spending persistence. Additionally, having an existing health insurance that supplements Medicare coverage or the acquisition of a new supplementary health insurance has a significant impact on the probability of persistence.