Pricing and Welfare in Health Plan Choice
AbstractPrices in government and employer-sponsored health insurance markets only partially reflect insurers' expected costs of coverage for different enrollees. This can create inefficient distortions when consumers self-select into plans. We develop a simple model to study this problem and estimate it using new data on small employers. In the markets we observe, the welfare loss compared to the feasible efficient benchmark is around 2-11% of coverage costs. Three-quarters of this is due to restrictions on risk-rating employee contributions; the rest is due to inefficient contribution choices. Despite the inefficiency, we find substantial benefits from plan choice relative to single-insurer options.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14153.
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Note: HC HE IO PE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing - - - General
- D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
- L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-07-05 (All new papers)
- NEP-HEA-2008-07-05 (Health Economics)
- NEP-IAS-2008-07-05 (Insurance Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Harvey S. Rosen & Kenneth A. Small, 1981.
"Applied Welfare Economics with Discrete Choice Models,"
NBER Working Papers
0319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Small, Kenneth A & Rosen, Harvey S, 1981. "Applied Welfare Economics with Discrete Choice Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(1), pages 105-30, January.
- David M. Cutler & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1999.
"The Anatomy of Health Insurance,"
NBER Working Papers
7176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Cochrane, John H, 1995. "Time-Consistent Health Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 445-73, June.
- Wedig, Gerard J. & Tai-Seale, Ming, 2002. "The effect of report cards on consumer choice in the health insurance market," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 1031-1048, November.
- Van de ven, Wynand P.M.M. & Ellis, Randall P., 2000. "Risk adjustment in competitive health plan markets," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 755-845 Elsevier.
- Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
- Miller, Nolan H., 2005. "Pricing health benefits: A cost-minimization approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 931-949, September.
- Scanlon, Dennis P. & Chernew, Michael & McLaughlin, Catherine & Solon, Gary, 2002. "The impact of health plan report cards on managed care enrollment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 19-41, January.
- Ginger Zhe Jin & Alan T. Sorensen, 2005. "Information and Consumer Choice: The Value of Publicized Health Plan Ratings," NBER Working Papers 11514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Anne Beeson Royalty & Neil Solomon, 1999. "Health Plan Choice: Price Elasticities in a Managed Competition Setting," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 1-41.
- Melissa W. Barringer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1994.
"Workers' preferences among company-provided health insurance plans,"
Industrial and Labor Relations Review,
ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 141-152, October.
- Melissa W. Barringer & Olivia S. Mitchell, . "Workers' Preferences Among Company-Provided Health Insurance Plans," Pension Research Council Working Papers 94-5, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
- Richard N. Rosett, 1976. "The Role of Health Insurance in the Health Services Sector," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number rose76-1.
- David M. Cutler & Sarah J. Reber, 1998.
"Paying For Health Insurance: The Trade-Off Between Competition And Adverse Selection,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 433-466, May.
- David M. Cutler & Sarah Reber, 1996. "Paying for Health Insurance: The Tradeoff between Competition and Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 5796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David M. Cutler & Amy Finkelstein & Kathleen McGarry, 2008.
"Preference Heterogeneity and Insurance Markets: Explaining a Puzzle of Insurance,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 157-62, May.
- David M. Cutler & Amy Finkelstein & Kathleen McGarry, 2008. "Preference Heterogeneity and Insurance Markets: Explaining a Puzzle of Insurance," NBER Working Papers 13746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joseph P. Newhouse, 1996. "Reimbursing Health Plans and Health Providers: Efficiency in Production versus Selection," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1236-1263, September.
- Pauly, Mark V. & Herring, Bradley J., 2000. "An efficient employer strategy for dealing with adverse selection in multiple-plan offerings: an MSA example," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 513-528, July.
- Cutler, David & McGarry, Kathleen & Finkelstein, Amy, 2008. "Preference Heterogeneity and Insurance Markets: Explaining a Puzzle of Insurance," Scholarly Articles 2640581, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Cardon, James H & Hendel, Igal, 2001. "Asymmetric Information in Health Insurance: Evidence from the National Medical Expenditure Survey," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 408-27, Autumn.
- Roger Feldman & Michael Finch & Bryan Dowd & Steven Cassou, 1989. "The Demand for Employment-Based Health Insurance Plans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(1), pages 115-142.
- Jin, Ginger Zhe & Sorensen, Alan T., 2006. "Information and consumer choice: The value of publicized health plan ratings," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 248-275, March.
- Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
- Strombom, Bruce A. & Buchmueller, Thomas C. & Feldstein, Paul J., 2002. "Switching costs, price sensitivity and health plan choice," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 89-116, January.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.