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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 the spending account, on health care spending. Our results show that the marginal dollar in the spending account is entirely spent on outpatient and pharmacy services. In contrast, inpatient and out-of-pocket spending were not responsive to the amount in 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 moral hazard consequences to higher spending account levels.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15106.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Publication status: published as Anthony T. Lo Sasso & Lorens A. Helmchen & Robert Kaestner, 2010. "The Effects of Consumer-Directed Health Plans on Health Care Spending," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 77(1), pages 85-103.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15106

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Cited by:
  1. Georges Dionne, 2012. "The Empirical Measure of Information Problems with Emphasis on Insurance Fraud and Dynamic Data," Cahiers de recherche, CIRPEE 1233, CIRPEE.
  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. 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, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 219-232, December.

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