IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aejpol/v6y2014i1p38-64.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Consumer Inertia and Firm Pricing in the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Insurance Exchange

Author

Listed:
  • Keith M. Marzilli Ericson

Abstract

I use the Medicare Part D prescription drug insurance market to examine the dynamics of firm interaction with consumers on an insurance exchange. Enrollment data show that consumers face switching frictions leading to inertia in plan choice, and a regression discontinuity design indicates initial defaults have persistent effects. In the absence of commitment to future prices, theory predicts firms respond to inertia by raising prices on existing enrollees, while introducing cheaper alternative plans. The complete set of enrollment and price data from 2006 through 2010 confirms this prediction: older plans have approximately 10 percent higher premiums than comparable new plans.

Suggested Citation

  • Keith M. Marzilli Ericson, 2014. "Consumer Inertia and Firm Pricing in the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Insurance Exchange," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 38-64, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:6:y:2014:i:1:p:38-64
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.6.1.38
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/pol.6.1.38
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/pol/app/0601/2012-0099_app.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/pol/data/0601/2012-0099_data.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/pol/ds/0601/2012-0099_ds.zip
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187.
    2. Darius Lakdawalla & Wesley Yin, 2015. "Insurers’ Negotiating Leverage and the External Effects of Medicare Part D," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 314-331, May.
    3. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    4. Farrell, Joseph, 1986. "A note on inertia in market share," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 73-75.
    5. 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.
    6. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson, 2011. "Forgetting We Forget: Overconfidence And Memory," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 43-60, February.
    7. Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Lee C. Vermeulen & Marian V. Wrobel, 2012. "Comparison Friction: Experimental Evidence from Medicare Drug Plans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 199-235.
    8. Mark Duggan & Patrick Healy & Fiona Scott Morton, 2008. "Providing Prescription Drug Coverage to the Elderly: America's Experiment with Medicare Part D," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 69-92, Fall.
    9. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2011. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Micro vs. Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 749-804.
    10. Joseph Farrell & Carl Shapiro, 1988. "Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(1), pages 123-137, Spring.
    11. Jason Abaluck & Jonathan Gruber, 2011. "Choice Inconsistencies among the Elderly: Evidence from Plan Choice in the Medicare Part D Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1180-1210, June.
    12. Florian Heiss & Daniel McFadden & Joachim Winter, 2010. "Mind the Gap! Consumer Perceptions and Choices of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans," NBER Chapters, in: Research Findings in the Economics of Aging, pages 413-481, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Mark G. Duggan & Fiona Scott Morton, 2011. "The Medium-Term Impact of Medicare Part D on Pharmaceutical Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 387-392, May.
    14. Taylor, Curtis R, 2003. "Supplier Surfing: Competition and Consumer Behavior in Subscription Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 223-246, Summer.
    15. Gruber, Jonathan & Washington, Ebonya, 2005. "Subsidies to employee health insurance premiums and the health insurance market," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 253-276, March.
    16. Raj Chetty, 2012. "Bounds on Elasticities With Optimization Frictions: A Synthesis of Micro and Macro Evidence on Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(3), pages 969-1018, May.
    17. Francesco Decarolis, 2012. "Pricing and Incentives in Publicly Subsidized Health Care Markets: the Case of Medicare Part D," PIER Working Paper Archive 12-026, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    18. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. "Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ericson, Keith M. Marzilli, 2020. "When consumers do not make an active decision: Dynamic default rules and their equilibrium effects," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 369-385.
    2. Yeo, Jungwon & Miller, Daniel P., 2018. "Estimating switching costs with market share data: an application to Medicare Part D," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 459-501.
    3. Anell, Anders & Dietrichson, Jens & Ellegård, Lina Maria & Kjellsson, Gustav, 2021. "Information, switching costs, and consumer choice: Evidence from two randomised field experiments in Swedish primary health care," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 196(C).
    4. Francesco Decarolis & Maria Polyakova & Stephen P. Ryan, 2020. "Subsidy Design in Privately Provided Social Insurance: Lessons from Medicare Part D," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(5), pages 1712-1752.
    5. Schmitz, Hendrik & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2011. "In Absolute or Relative Terms? How Framing Prices Affects the Consumer Price Sensitivity of Health Plan Choice," Ruhr Economic Papers 304, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Afendulis, Christopher C. & Sinaiko, Anna D. & Frank, Richard G., 2015. "Dominated choices and Medicare Advantage enrollment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 72-83.
    7. Decarolis, Francesco, 2015. "The unintended effects of the Medicare Part D low income subsidy," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(5), pages 597-603.
    8. Kate Ho & Joseph Hogan & Fiona Scott Morton, 2017. "The impact of consumer inattention on insurer pricing in the Medicare Part D program," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 48(4), pages 877-905, December.
    9. Kesternich, Iris & Heiss, Florian & McFadden, Daniel & Winter, Joachim, 2013. "Suit the action to the word, the word to the action: Hypothetical choices and real decisions in Medicare Part D," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1313-1324.
    10. Martin Gaynor & Kate Ho & Robert J. Town, 2015. "The Industrial Organization of Health-Care Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(2), pages 235-284, June.
    11. Annette Alstadsæter & Wojciech Kopczuk & Kjetil Telle, 2019. "Social networks and tax avoidance: evidence from a well-defined Norwegian tax shelter," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 26(6), pages 1291-1328, December.
    12. Jia, Zhiyang & Vattø, Trine Engh, 2021. "Predicting the path of labor supply responses when state dependence matters," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    13. McConnell, Margaret, 2013. "Behavioral economics and aging," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 1, pages 83-89.
    14. Chorniy, Anna & Miller, Daniel & Tang, Tilan, 2020. "Mergers in Medicare Part D: Assessing market power, cost efficiencies, and bargaining power," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    15. Vetter, Stefan & Heiss, Florian & McFadden, Daniel & Winter, Joachim, 2013. "Risk attitudes and Medicare Part D enrollment decisions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 128-132.
    16. Buchmueller, Thomas, 2006. "Price and the health plan choices of retirees," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 81-101, January.
    17. repec:zbw:rwirep:0304 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Traxler, Christian & Westermaier, Franz G. & Wohlschlegel, Ansgar, 2018. "Bunching on the Autobahn? Speeding responses to a ‘notched’ penalty scheme," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 78-94.
    19. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Søren Leth-Petersen & Torben Heien Nielsen & Tore Olsen, 2014. "Active vs. Passive Decisions and Crowd-Out in Retirement Savings Accounts: Evidence from Denmark," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(3), pages 1141-1219.
    20. Zhiyang Jia & Trine E. Vattø, 2016. "The path of labor supply adjustment. Sources of lagged responses to tax-benefit reforms," Discussion Papers 854, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    21. Andrew Stocking & James Baumgardner & Melinda Buntin & Anna Cook, 2014. "Examining the Number of Competitors and the Cost of Medicare Part D: Working Paper 2014-04," Working Papers 45553, Congressional Budget Office.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:6:y:2014:i:1:p:38-64. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.