NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Health and Mortality Delta: Assessing the Welfare Cost of Household Insurance Choice

Ralph Koijen, Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, Motohiro Yogo

NBER Working Paper No. 17325
Issued in August 2011
NBER Program(s):   AG   AP   HE

We develop a pair of risk measures, health and mortality delta, for the universe of life and health insurance products. A life-cycle model of insurance choice simplifies to replicating the optimal health and mortality delta through a portfolio of insurance products. We estimate the model to explain the observed variation in health and mortality delta implied by the ownership of life insurance, annuities including private pensions, and long-term care insurance in the Health and Retirement Study. For the median household aged 51 to 57, the lifetime welfare cost of market incompleteness and suboptimal choice is 3.2% of total wealth.

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This paper was revised on June 7, 2014

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17325

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