NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Peter Graven

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2013The Role of Agents and Brokers in the Market for Health Insurance
with Pinar Karaca-Mandic, Roger Feldman: w19342
Health insurance markets in the United States are characterized by imperfect information, complex products, and substantial search frictions. Insurance agents and brokers play a significant role in helping employers navigate these problems. However, little is known about the relation between the structure of the agent/broker market and access and affordability of insurance. This paper aims to fill this gap by investigating the influence of agents/brokers on health insurance decisions of small firms, which are particularly vulnerable to problems of financing health insurance. Using a unique membership database from the National Association of Health Underwriters together with a nationally representative survey of employers, we find that small firms in more competitive agent/broker markets a...
 
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