Preferences and choices for care and health insurance
Legislation that came into effect in 2006 has dramatically altered the health insurance system in the Netherlands, placing greater emphasis on consumer choice and competition among insurers. The potential for such competition depends largely on consumer preferences for price and quality of service by insurers and quality of affiliated providers. This study provides initial evidence on the preferences of Dutch consumers and how they view trade-offs between various aspects of health insurance product design. A key feature of the analysis is that we compare the responses of high and low risk individuals, where risk is defined by the presence of a costly chronic condition. This contrast is critically important for understanding incentives facing insurers and for identifying potential unanticipated consequences of market competition. The results from our conjoint analysis suggest that not only high risk but also low risk individuals are willing to pay substantially more for insurance products that can be shown to provide better health outcomes. This suggests that insurance products that are more expensive and provide better quality of care may also attract low risk individuals. Therefore, development and dissemination of good, reliable and understandable health plan performance indicators may effectively reduce the problem of adverse selection.