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The health insurance market is driven by the individual choices consumers make on their insurance plans. The research presented in this video explores the questions of how consumers choose these plans, whether they are able to pick the plan most suited to their situation and whether they switch to another and better health insurance plan when they have the opportunity to do so. JOACHIM WINTER explains that, after running statistical analyses and conducting experimental surveys, his research group found that consumers do not tend to pick ideal plans because often they focus too much on price and not so much on other cost-influencing factors. The researchers also discovered that switching rates to other plans are very low. These findings have implications for behavioral economics as well since they more generally offer valuable data on consumers’ choice behavior.


Joachim Winter is Professor of Economics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich. He is also affiliated with the Institute for Economic Research (ifo). Some of his previous positions include that of Deputy Director at the Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging and that of Visiting Research Economist at the University of California at Berkeley. He is member of the editorial board of the Journal of Pension Economics and Finance and co-editor of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. His research interests include health economics and experimental studies of individual behavior.


Original publication

Consumer-directed Health Care: Can Consumers Look After Themselves?

Winter Joachim, Heiss Florian and McFadden Daniel
Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics
Published in 2008

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Preparedness of Americans for the Affordable Care Act

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Choice, Price Competition and Complexity in Markets for Health Insurance

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Getting the Most from Marketplaces: Smart Policies on Health Insurance Choice

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Inattention and Switching Costs as Sources of Inertia in Medicare Part D

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