Does personalized information improve health plan choices when individuals are distracted?

Kaufmann, Cornel; Müller, Tobias; Hefti, Andreas; Boes, Stefan (6 March 2018). Does personalized information improve health plan choices when individuals are distracted? (Discussion Papers 18-08). Bern: Department of Economics

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Choice-based health insurance systems allow individuals to select a health plan that fits
their needs. However, bounded rationality and limited attention may lead to sub-optimal insurance coverage and higher-than-expected out-of-pocket payments. In this paper, we study the impact of providing personalized information on health plan choices in a laboratory experiment. We seek to more closely mimic real-life choices by randomly providing an incentivized distraction to some individuals. We find that providing personalized information significantly improves health plan choices. The positive effect is even larger and longer-lasting if individuals are distracted from their original task. In addition to providing decision support, receiving personalized information restores the awareness of the choice setting to a level comparable to the case without distraction thus reducing inertia. Our results indicate that increasing transparency of the health insurance system and providing tailored information can help individuals to make better choices and reduce their out-of-pocket expenditures.

Item Type:

Working Paper


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Economics

UniBE Contributor:

Müller, Tobias and Boes, Stefan


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics


Discussion Papers


Department of Economics




Lars Tschannen

Date Deposited:

01 Sep 2020 09:52

Last Modified:

01 Sep 2020 09:52

JEL Classification:

I13, D83, C91




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