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J Health Econ. 2011 Jul;30(4):626-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2011.05.004. Epub 2011 May 14.

Time is money: outpatient waiting times and health insurance choices of elderly veterans in the United States.

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US Department of Veterans Affairs & Boston University, Health Care Financing & Economics, 150 South Huntington Ave., Mail Stop 152H, Boston, MA 02130, USA.


Growth in the number of days between an appointment request and the actual appointment reduces demand. Although such waiting times are relatively low in the US, current policy initiatives could cause them to increase. We estimate multiple-equation models of physician utilization and insurance plan choice for Medicare-eligible veterans. We find that a 10% increase in VA waiting times increases demand for Medigap insurance by 5%, implying that a representative patient would be indifferent between waiting an average of 5 more days for VA appointments and paying $300 more in annual premium.

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