Although the effect of time to death (TTD) on health care expenditures (HCE) has been investigated using individual level data, the most profound implications of TTD have been for the forecasting of macro-level HCE. Here we estimate the TTD model using macro-level data from the Netherlands consisting of mortality rates and age- and gender-specific per capita health expenditures for the years 1981-2007. Forecasts for the years 2008-2020 of this macro-level TTD model were compared to forecasts that excluded TTD. Results revealed that the effect of TTD on HCE in our macro model was similar to those found in micro-econometric studies. As the inclusion of TTD pushed growth rate estimates from unidentified causes upwards, however, the two models' forecasts of HCE for the 2008-2020 were similar. We argue that including TTD, if modeled correctly, does not lower forecasts of HCE.

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Journal of Health Economics
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Baal, P., & Wong, A. (2012). Time to death and the forecasting of macro-level health care expenditures: Some further considerations. Journal of Health Economics, 31(6), 876–887. doi:10.1016/j.jhealeco.2012.08.003