A major challenge in regulated health insurance markets is to mitigate risk selection potential. Risk selection can occur in the presence of unpriced risk heterogeneity, which refers to predictable variation in health care spending not reflected in either premiums by insurers or risk equalization payments. This paper examines unpriced risk heterogeneity within risk groups distinguished by the sophisticated Dutch risk equalization model of 2016. Our strategy is to combine the administrative dataset used for estimation of the risk equalization model (n = 16.9 million) with information derived from a large health survey (n = 387k). The survey information allows for explaining and predicting residual spending of the risk equalization model. Based on the predicted residual spending, two metrics are used to indicate unpriced risk heterogeneity at the individual level and at the level of certain (risk) groups: the correlation coefficient between residual spending and predicted residual spending, and the mean absolute value of predicted residual spending. The analyses yield three main findings: (1) the health survey information is able to explain some residual spending of the risk equalization model, (2) unpriced risk heterogeneity exists both in morbidity and in non-morbidity groups, and (3) unpriced risk heterogeneity increases with predicted spending by the risk equalization model. These findings imply that the sophisticated Dutch risk equalization model does not completely remove unpriced risk heterogeneity. Further improvement of the model should focus on broadening and refining the current set of morbidity-based risk adjusters.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Health insurance, Risk equalization, Risk selection, Survey data
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10198-018-0979-x, hdl.handle.net/1765/105919
Journal The European Journal of Health Economics
Citation
Withagen-Koster, A.A. (A. A.), van Kleef, R.C, & Eijkenaar, F. (2018). Examining unpriced risk heterogeneity in the Dutch health insurance market. The European Journal of Health Economics, 1–13. doi:10.1007/s10198-018-0979-x