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Sharing health risk and income risk within households: evidence from Japanese data

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The question of which household members should consume medical services, and in what quantities, is examined by using Japanese household-level data. Two key concepts are employed, health risk and income risk, and whether family heads or dependants bear these risks investigated. Health risk is the risk that a household member falls ill, while income risk is the risk that future household income decreases. It is found that both heads and dependants make fewer visits to doctors as household size increases. It is also found that only dependants visited doctors less frequently following the reform of the public health insurance system, which raised the co-payment rate of family heads from 10% to 20%. These findings imply that heads and dependants share health risk but dependants bear income risk.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8573, Japan

Publication date: 01 July 2008

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