Empirical Economics

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 501–524 | Cite as

Supplementary private health insurance and health care utilization of people aged 50+

  • Anikó BíróEmail author


Does supplementary private health insurance (PHI) coverage influence health care utilization in countries where the coverage ratio with public health insurance is high? I estimate this effect using the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. Handling the potential endogeneity of supplementary insurance coverage and the large fraction of zero observations in the utilization models influences the empirical results. I show that the effect of PHI coverage on inpatient and outpatient care utilization is not trivial even in countries with generous public health funding. The main finding is that supplementary PHI coverage increases dental care utilization, but decreases the visits to general practitioners. Private insurance is estimated to have little and insignificant influence on the utilization of inpatient care and outpatient specialist care. The magnitude of the effect of supplementary PHI on health care utilization varies with the characteristics of the health care systems.


Private health insurance Health care utilization SHARE 

JEL Classification

C25 C35 G22 I11 



An earlier version of this article was written as part of my Ph.D. thesis at the Central European University. I am grateful for comments and suggestions received at the 5th Nordic Econometric Meeting in Lund, 3rd annual conference of the Hungarian Society of Economics in Budapest, 2nd Health Econometrics Workshop in Rome and from two anonymous referees.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EconomicsThe University of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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