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Subjective expectations of medical expenditures and insurance in rural Ethiopia

Zelalem Debebe (), Owen O'Donnell, Anagaw Mebratie, Getnet Alemu and Arjun Bedi

No 611, ISS Working Papers - General Series from International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague

Abstract: Little is known about perceptions of medical expenditure risks despite their presumed relevance to health insurance demand. This paper reports on a unique elicitation of subjective probabilities of medical expenditures from rural Ethiopians who are offered the opportunity to purchase health insurance. We find that expectations are positively correlated with past expenses to a degree that exceeds the serial correlation in realized expenditures, suggesting overestimation of persistence and underestimation of the potential gains from insurance. Despite the fact that forecast expenditures do predict realized expenditures to some extent, there is no evidence that expectations influence the decision to take out health insurance, although plans to insure are positively related to the perceived dispersion of medical expenses.

Keywords: subjective probability; medical expenditure; out-of-pocket payments; adverse selection; health insurance; Ethiopia (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D82 D84 O12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-ias
Date: 2015-11-26
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Working Paper: Subjective Expectations of Medical Expenditures and Insurance in Rural Ethiopia (2015) Downloads
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