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Kifmann, Mathias; Roeder, Kerstin (2011): Premium subsidies and social insurance: Substitutes or complements? hche Research Paper / Hamburg Center for Health Economics,
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Premium subsidies have been advocated as an alternative to social health insurance. These subsidies are paid if expenditure on health insurance exceeds a given share of income. In this paper, we examine whether this approach is superior to social insurance from a welfare perspective. We show that the results crucially depend on the correlation of health and productivity. For a positive correlation, we find that combining premium subsidies with social insurance is the optimal policy.