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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 11 / 2010 (552)

Health Insurance Participation: The Role of Cognitive Ability and Risk Aversion

Swarn CHATTERJEE
University of Georgia, Athens, USA
Robert B. NIELSEN
University of Georgia, Athens, USA

Abstract. The decision to enroll in employer-offered health insurance or purchase insurance in the individual market requires consumers to consider numerous possibilities, most in an environment characterized by imperfect information. This paper introduces an adapted behavioral framework to predict health insurance coverage among employed workers. Results indicate that consumers in the higher quartiles of intelligence are increasingly more likely to have enrolled in an employer’s health insurance policy or purchased insurance in the individual market. Also, respondents with a higher tolerance for risk are less likely to be insured that those less tolerant of risk.

Keywords: consumer behavior; health insurance; intelligence; risk tolerance; uninsured.

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