As China’s economy has grown constantly and rapidly in recent decades, medical expenses in the country are also soaring, for both the government and individual consumers. The social medical insurance system, mainly sponsored by employers and regulated by the Chinese government, leaves large numbers of uninsured people. Considering the financial costs of major medical crises, critical illnesses often result in financial trauma. The direct and indirect costs often lead to significant deterioration in patients’ quality of life, including negative financial consequences. Therefore, critical illness insurance has significant meaning for insured people who now see themselves as survivors rather than as decedents.
Most health insurance studies come from the United States, which has may not apply to other countries, considering the differences in the social security systems, economic environments, cultural environments, and customers’ characteristics. Virtually no studies focus on the decision-making process for critical illness insurance and the factors that affect the purchasing decision, so insurance providers, both local and international, continue to call for investigations of consumer decisions to purchase critical illness insurance.
This thesis constructs, on the basis of former studies, a model of purchasing behavior for critical illness insurance and attempts to define relevant factors and the related role of the process. With a survey in Shanghai, in which 1200 questionnaires were distributed by 200 agents of the China Pacific Life Insurance Company, this study identifies the process of consumers decision making about critical illness insurance, how different background factors affect consumers’ purchase behaviors in this industry, and whether “new” factors that pertain specifically to China’s environment influence consumers’ decision making.