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Taking the hassle out of wellness: Do peers and health matter?

Shooshan Danagoulian ()

International Journal of Health Economics and Management, 2018, vol. 18, issue 1, No 1, 23 pages

Abstract: Abstract Despite substantial financial incentives provided by the Affordable Care Act and employers, employee enrollment in wellness programs is low. This paper studies enrollment in a wellness program offered along an employer-provided health insurance plan. Two factors are considered in the choice of health plan with wellness: the effect of peer choices and family health on plan choice. Using exclusively obtained data of health insurance plan choice and utilization, this paper compares similar plans and focuses on a subsample of new employees. Result show that peers affect own choice of health insurance: a 10 percentage point rise in the share of colleagues enrolled in Aetna Wellness increases the probability of own enrollment in the plan by up to 3.9 percentage points. This result suggests that lack of experience with a wellness program are key to employee reluctance to enroll. Health effect on probability of enrollment in Aetna Wellness ranges from a 3 percentage point decline to a 3 percentage point rise depending on the measure, suggesting that while wellness programs appeal to low- to medium-intensity users of medical services, they do not appeal to individuals with more severe medical conditions which might benefit most from better coordinated medical care.

Keywords: Health insurance; Wellness; Information (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I13 J32 L15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1007/s10754-017-9221-0

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