nep-ias New Economics Papers
on Insurance Economics
Issue of 2004‒12‒20
three papers chosen by
Soumitra K Mallick
Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Bussiness Management

  1. Tax Policy for Health Insurance By Jonathan Gruber
  2. Adaptive Premiums for Evolutionary Claims in Non-Life Insurance By Roger Gay
  3. The Interaction of Public and Private Insurance: Medicaid and the Long-Term Care Insurance Market By Jeffrey R. Brown; Amy Finkelstein

  1. By: Jonathan Gruber
    Abstract: Despite a $140 billion existing tax break for employer-provided health insurance, tax policy remains the tool of choice for many policy-makers in addressing the problem of the uninsured. In this paper, I use a microsimulation model to estimate the impact of various tax interventions to cover the uninsured, relative to an expansion of public insurance designed to accomplish the same goals. I contrast the efficiency of these policies along several dimensions, most notably the dollars of public spending per dollar of insurance value provided. I find that every tax policy is much less efficient than public insurance expansions: while public insurance costs the government only between $1.17 and $1.33 per dollar of insurance value provided, tax policies cost the government between $2.36 and $12.98 per dollar of insurance value provided. I also find that targeting is crucial for efficient tax policy; policies tightly targeted to the lowest income earners have a much higher efficiency than those available higher in the income distribution. Within tax policies, tax credits aimed at employers are the most efficient, and tax credits aimed at employees are the least efficient, because the single greatest determinant of insurance coverage is being offered insurance by your employer, and because most employees who are offered already take up that insurance. Tax credits targeted at non-group coverage are fairly similar to employer tax credits at low levels, but much less efficient at higher levels.
    JEL: H2 I1
    Date: 2004–12
  2. By: Roger Gay
    Abstract: Rapid growth in heavy-tailed claim severity in commercial liability insurance requires insurer response by way of flexible mechanisms to update premiums. To this end in this paper a new premium principle is established for heavy-tailed claims, and its properties investigated. Risk-neutral premiums for heavy-tailed claims are consistently and unbiasedly estimated by the ratio of the first two extremes of the claims distribution. That is, the heavy-tailed risk-neutral premium has a Pareto distribution with the same tail-index as the claims distribution. Insurers must predicate premiums on larger tail-index values, if solvency is to be maintained. Additionally, the structure of heavy-tailed premiums is shown to lead to a natural model for tail-index imprecision (demonstrably inescapable in the sample sizes with which we deal). Premiums which compensate for tail-index uncertainty preserve the ratio structure of risk-neutral premiums, but make a 'prudent' adjustment which reflects the insurer's risk-profile. An example using Swiss Re's (1999) major disaster data is used to illustrate application of the methodology to the largest claims in any insurance class.
    Keywords: Insurance Claims, Premiums, Tail-Index, Extreme Values
    JEL: G22
    Date: 2004–11
  3. By: Jeffrey R. Brown; Amy Finkelstein
    Abstract: We show that the provision of even incomplete public insurance can substantially crowd out private insurance demand. We examine the interaction of the public Medicaid program with the private market for long-term care insurance and estimate that Medicaid can explain the lack of private insurance purchases for at least two-thirds and as much as 90 percent of the wealth distribution, even if comprehensive, actuarially fair private policies were available. Medicaid's large crowd out effect stems from the very large implicit tax (on the order of 60 to 75 percent for a median wealth individual) that Medicaid imposes on the benefits paid from private insurance policies. Importantly, Medicaid itself provides an inadequate mechanism for smoothing consumption for most individuals, so that its crowd out effect has important implications for overall risk exposure. An implication of our findings is that public policies designed to stimulate private insurance demand will be of limited efficacy as long as Medicaid continues to impose this large implicit tax.
    JEL: H4 H51 I11 J14
    Date: 2004–12

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