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The Effects of Consumer-Directed Health Plans on Health Care Spending

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  • Anthony T. Lo Sasso
  • Lorens A. Helmchen
  • Robert Kaestner

Abstract

We use unique data from an insurer that exclusively offers high-deductible, "consumer-directed" health plans to identify the effect of plan features, notably employer contributions to the spending account, on health care spending. Our results show that the marginal dollar contributed by the employer to the spending account is entirely spent on outpatient and pharmacy services. In contrast, out-of-pocket spending was not responsive to the amount the employer contributes to the spending account. Our results represent the first plausibly causal estimates of the components of consumer-driven health plans on health spending. The magnitudes of the effects suggest important health care spending consequences to higher employer contributions to spending accounts. Our findings are most directly relevant to health reimbursement arrangement plan designs, though our results are still of value to health savings account plan designs. Copyright (c) The Journal of Risk and Insurance, 2010.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The American Risk and Insurance Association in its journal Journal of Risk and Insurance.

Volume (Year): 77 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 85-103

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jrinsu:v:77:y:2010:i:1:p:85-103

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Cited by:
  1. Song Chen & Anthony Lo Sasso & Aneesh Nandam, 2013. "Who funds their health savings account and why?," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 219-232, December.
  2. Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Paul Schrimpf, 2013. "The Response of Drug Expenditures to Non-Linear Contract Design: Evidence from Medicare Part D," NBER Working Papers 19393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Georges Dionne, 2012. "The Empirical Measure of Information Problems with Emphasis on Insurance Fraud and Dynamic Data," Cahiers de recherche 1233, CIRPEE.

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