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Keywords:

  • patient reimbursement method;
  • health-care demand;
  • health insurance;
  • China

Abstract

For most insurers, traditional methods of controlling health-care demand include deductibles, co-payments, stop-losses, and insurance ceilings. This paper examines the effect of the patient reimbursement method of health insurance (immediate reimbursement or later reimbursement) on individuals' health-care utilization decisions. We find that immediate reimbursement significantly increases the likelihood of patients seeking outpatient treatment in China. We also empirically explore the channels through which immediate reimbursement affects individual's incentives on health-care demand. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.