Incentive-compatible guaranteed renewable health insurance premiums.

Academic Article


  • Theoretical models of guaranteed renewable insurance display front-loaded premium schedules. Such schedules both cover lifetime total claims of low-risk and high-risk individuals and provide an incentive for those who remain low-risk to continue to purchase the policy. Questions have been raised of whether actual individual insurance markets in the US approximate the behavior predicted by these models, both because young consumers may not be able to "afford" front-loading and because insurers may behave strategically in ways that erode the value of protection against risk reclassification. In this paper, the optimal competitive age-based premium schedule for a benchmark guaranteed renewable health insurance policy is estimated using medical expenditure data. Several factors are shown to reduce the amount of front-loading necessary. Indeed, the resulting optimal premium path increases with age. Actual premium paths exhibited by purchasers of individual insurance are close to the optimal renewable schedule we estimate. Finally, consumer utility associated with the feature is examined.
  • Authors

  • Herring, Bradley
  • Pauly, Mark V
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • May 2006
  • Published In


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Insurance, Health
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reimbursement, Incentive
  • Risk Adjustment
  • United States
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 16584793
  • Start Page

  • 395
  • End Page

  • 417
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 3