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Genetic variation in health insurance coverage

George L. Wehby () and Dan Shane ()
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George L. Wehby: University of Iowa
Dan Shane: University of Iowa

International Journal of Health Economics and Management, 2019, vol. 19, issue 3, No 3, 316 pages

Abstract: Abstract We provide the first investigation into whether and how much genes explain having health insurance coverage or not and possible mechanisms for genetic variation. Using a twin-design that compares identical and non-identical twins from a national sample of US twins from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States, we find that genetic effects explain over 40% of the variation in whether a person has any health coverage versus not, and nearly 50% of the variation in whether individuals younger than 65 have private coverage versus whether they have no coverage at all. Nearly one third of the genetic variation in being uninsured versus having private coverage is explained by employment industry, self-employment status, and income, and together with education, they explain over 40% of the genetic influence. Marital status, number of children, and available measures of health status, risk preferences, and prevention effort do not appear to be important channels for genetic effects. That genes have meaningful effects on the insurance status suggests an important source of heterogeneity in insurance take up.

Keywords: Health insurance; Genetic variation; Health determinants; Risk taking (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D1 D82 I10 I12 I13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1007/s10754-018-9255-y

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