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Re-insurance in the Swiss health insurance market


Schmid, Christian; Beck, Konstantin (2016). Re-insurance in the Swiss health insurance market. Health Policy, 120(7):848-855.

Abstract

Risk equalization mechanisms mitigate insurers’ incentives to practice risk selection. On the other hand, incentives to limit healthcare spending can be distorted by risk equalization, particularly when risk equalization payments depend on realized costs instead of expected costs. In addition, cost based risk equalization mechanisms may incentivize health insurers to distort the allocation of resources among different services. The incentives to practice risk selection, to limit healthcare spending, and to distort the allocation of resources can be measured by fit, power, and balance, respectively. We apply these three measures to evaluate the risk adjustment mechanism in Switzerland. Our results suggest that it performs very well in terms of power but rather poorly in terms of fit. The latter indicates that risk selection might be a severe problem. We show that re-insurance can reduce this problem while power remains on a high level. In addition, we provide evidence that the Swiss risk equalization mechanism does not lead to imbalances across different services.

Abstract

Risk equalization mechanisms mitigate insurers’ incentives to practice risk selection. On the other hand, incentives to limit healthcare spending can be distorted by risk equalization, particularly when risk equalization payments depend on realized costs instead of expected costs. In addition, cost based risk equalization mechanisms may incentivize health insurers to distort the allocation of resources among different services. The incentives to practice risk selection, to limit healthcare spending, and to distort the allocation of resources can be measured by fit, power, and balance, respectively. We apply these three measures to evaluate the risk adjustment mechanism in Switzerland. Our results suggest that it performs very well in terms of power but rather poorly in terms of fit. The latter indicates that risk selection might be a severe problem. We show that re-insurance can reduce this problem while power remains on a high level. In addition, we provide evidence that the Swiss risk equalization mechanism does not lead to imbalances across different services.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Health insurance, risk adjustment re-insurance
Language:English
Date:July 2016
Deposited On:06 Jul 2016 12:22
Last Modified:31 Aug 2016 07:36
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0168-8510
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthpol.2016.04.016

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