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Consumer Expenditure Surveys

Consumption Symposium: Broadening Our Understanding of Household Consumption and Measurement, September 22-23, 2021

Incorporating Health Insurance into Consumption (Poverty) Measurement (PDF)

Dahlia Remler - City University of New York -

This presentation focuses on goals, difficulties, and other conceptual issues in how to incorporate health insurance into consumption measures of well-being, inequality, and poverty. I discuss the concentration of health care expenditures, predictability of expenditures over time, access value of health insurance, insurance protection through time (reclassification risk), and the US institutional context. I describe the various reasons premiums vary and discuss which ones an ideal consumption measure would and would not capture. I conclude that meaningful measures of consumption should not reflect out-of-pocket payments or the risk pool shared and further argue they should not reflect an individual's health status. I outline a consumption poverty measure, modeled on the income-based Health-Inclusive Poverty Measure of Korenman and Remler (2016). I discuss what health insurance variables might be useful for the Consumer Expenditure Surveys.


Last Modified Date: November 10, 2021