Division of Health Policy and Management
420 Delaware Street SE, MMC 729
Minneapolis, MN 55455
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|August 2013||The 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...