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March 15, 2019

Selection and moral hazard effects in healthcare

Publication

In the Netherlands, average healthcare expenditures of persons without a voluntary deductible are twice as high as average healthcare expenditures of persons with a voluntary deductible. When assessing the effects of voluntary cost-sharing in healthcare on healthcare expenditures, it is important to disentangle moral hazard from selection: are healthcare expenditures low because people pay (a bigger share of) their healthcare expenditures out-of-pocket? Or are people with higher cost-sharing levels healthier? In this study, we separate selection from moral hazard for the combined mandatory and voluntary deductible in the Netherlands. We use proprietary claims data from Dutch health insurers and exploit with a panel regression discontinuity design that we can observe healthcare expenditures before and after the deductibles kick in for 18 year olds.