Medical Expenditure Risk and Household Portfolio Choice

Publication Name: 
Journal of Applied Economics
Publication Authors: 
Goldman Dana, Maestas Nicole
HCP Authors:Nicole Maestas PhD
Date of Publication: 
Jun 2013


Medical expenses are an increasingly important contributor to household financial risk. We examine the effect of medicalexpenditure risk on the willingness of Medicare beneficiaries to hold risky assets. Using a discrete factor maximum likelihood method to address the endogeneity of insurance choices, we find that having a moderately protective Medigap or employer supplemental policy increases risky asset holding by 7.1 percentage points relative to those without supplemental coverage, while participation in a highly protective Medicare HMO increases risky asset holding by 13.0 percentage points. Our results highlight an important link between the availability of health insurance and financial behavior.

PMCID: PMC3757955


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