Institute for Economic and Social Research

Jinan Lecture | Hanming Fang, University of Pennsylvania


TitleLong-Term Health Insurance: Theory Meets Evidence

Speaker: Hanming Fang, University of Pennsylvania

Time: 10 :00 -11:00, 29 March (Beijing Time, GMT+8)

On Zoom 

About the speaker:

Hanming Fang is the JOSEPH M. COHEN TERM PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS in University of Pennslvania. Professor Fang is an applied microeconomist with broad theoretical and empirical interests focusing on public economics. His research integrates rigorous modeling with careful data analysis and has focused on the economic analysis of discrimination; insurance markets, particularly life insurance and health insurance; and health care, including Medicare. In his research on discrimination, Professor Fang has designed and implemented tests to examine the role of prejudice in racial disparities in matters involving search rates during highway stops, treatments received in emergency departments, and racial differences in parole releases. In 2008, Professor Fang was awarded the 17th Kenneth Arrow Prize by the International Health Economics Association (iHEA) for his research on the sources of advantageous selection in the Medigap insurance market. 

Professor Fang is currently working on issues related to insurance markets, particularly the interaction between the health insurance reform and the labor market. He has served as co-editor for the Journal of Public Economics and International Economic Review, and associate editor in numerous journals, including the American Economic Review. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he served as the acting director of the Chinese economy working group from 2014 to 2016. He is also a research associate of the Population Studies Center and Population Aging Research Center, and a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.


To insure policyholders against contemporaneous health expenditure shocks and future reclassification risk, long-term health insurance constitutes an alternative to community-rated short-term contracts with an individual mandate. In this paper, we study the German long-term health insurance (GLTHI) from a life-cycle perspective. The GLTHI is one of the few real-world long-term health insurance markets. We first present and discuss insurer regulation, premium setting, and the main market principles of the GLTHI. Then, using unique claims panel data from 620 thousand policyholders over 7 years, we propose a new method to classify and model health transitions. Feeding the empirical inputs into our theoretical model, we assess the welfare effects of the GLTHI over policyholders' lifecycle. We find that GLTHI achieves a high level of welfare against several benchmarks. Finally, we conduct counterfactual policy simulations to illustrate the welfare consequences of integrating GLTHI into a hybrid insurance system similar to the current system in the United States.

Registration deadline: 16:00 (Beijing Time, GMT+8), 26 March


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