Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/93862
Authors: 
Vetter, Stefan
Heiss, Florian
McFadden, Daniel
Winter, Joachim
Year of Publication: 
2012
Series/Report no.: 
SFB/TR 15 Discussion Paper 373
Abstract: 
The new Medicare Part D program provides prescription drug coverage for older Americans through highly subsidized and tightly regulated plans offered by private insurance firms. For most eligible individuals without coverage from other sources, obtaining Part D coverage would be rational, but it requires active enrollment and plan choice decisions. We investigate if non-enrollment in Medicare Part D can partly be explained by risk aversion. Data are taken from a national online survey conducted just after the introduction Part D. The survey included a context-free and a context-related hypothetical lottery to measure an individual's attitude towards risk. Respondents who are risk tolerant according to these measures were significantly less likely to enroll in Part D. We also illustrate that hypothetical choice questions designed to elicit risk attitudes are subject to reference-point effects. Even minor differences in the priming of respondents can result in potentially misleading conclusions about the role of risk aversion in the insurance decisions.
JEL: 
D03
D81
H51
I1
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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