Policy implications of heterogeneous demand reactions to changes in cost-sharing: Patient-level evidence from Austria

IHS health economist Thomas Czypionka, Eva Six (WU) and Michael Berger (University of Vienna) researched policy implications of heterogeneous demand reactions to changes in cost-sharing and now published their results in "Social Science & Medicine".

Cost-sharing is a prominent tool in many healthcare systems, both for raising revenue and steering patient behaviour. Although the effect of cost-sharing on demand for healthcare services has been heavily studied in the literature, researchers often apply a macro-perspective to these issues, opening the door for policy makers to the fallacy of assuming uniform demand reactions across a spectrum of different forms of treatments and diagnostic procedures. In this case, he authors use a simple classification system to categorize 11 such healthcare services along the dimensions of urgency and price to estimate patients’ (anticipatory) demand reactions to a reduction in the co-insurance rate by a sickness fund in the Austrian social health insurance system.

The results and the full article can be found here.