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Health insurance, risk attitudes, and household financial behavior

Zhongda Li, Lu Liu, Jiayu Shi and Yubing Sui

Health Economics, 2021, vol. 30, issue 5, 1239-1246

Abstract: Medical expenditure risk is widely believed to reduce households' willingness to bear other risks and in turn alter their behavior. In this paper, we investigate the role of health insurance in household financial decision. To this end, we consider a double‐multinomial discrete‐factor model of insurance choice and portfolio allocation. Using data from a Chinese household survey, we find that enrolling in a health insurance scheme with better policies is associated with a higher probability of owning risky assets. This positive effect is stronger for households with lower risk aversion. Our findings suggest that risk attitudes could indirectly influence portfolio outcomes through affecting households' responsiveness to changes in medical expenditure risk.

Date: 2021
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