Stefan Boes, University of Lucerne - Bridging the Gap: Experimental Evidence on Information Provision and Health Insurance Choices

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  • Melbourne Institute Seminar

Title: Bridging the Gap: Experimental Evidence on Information Provision and Health Insurance Choices (joint work with Ana Quiroga)

Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated that individuals do not always make rational decisions when selecting their health insurance. There are several explanations as to why this happens, including the general complexity of health systems, and health insurance products, as well as the lack of a sufficient level of health insurance literacy in the population. We study the effect of specific types of information provision for decision support on health insurance choices, and test their potential in improving decision quality by implementing a randomized laboratory experiment. We provide personalized and generic aids, and we differentiate between numerical and visual decision support. Participants were less likely to visualize personalized information if more than one option was available, other associated factors were gender, age, and objective health insurance knowledge. All information treatments improved decision quality, but largest effects were observed for those who “opted in” to visualize personalized information for decision support. By reducing information frictions, our results suggest that accessible and easy-to-use tools can have a positive impact on health system navigation, in particular if the information provided relates to expected out-of-pocket expenditures.

Presenter: Stefan Boes, University of Lucerne

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