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Technological Change and Risk Adjustment: Benefit Design Incentives in Medicare Part D

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  • Colleen Carey

Abstract

Subsidized health insurance markets use diagnosis-based risk adjustment to induce insurers to offer an equitable benefit to individuals of varying expected cost. I demonstrate that technological change after risk adjustment calibration--new drug entry and the onset of generic competition--made certain diagnoses profitable or unprofitable in Medicare Part D. I then exploit variation in diagnoses' profitability driven by technological change to show insurers designed more favorable benefits for drugs that treat profitable diagnoses as compared to unprofitable diagnoses. In the presence of technological change, risk adjustment may not fully neutralize insurers' incentives to select through benefit designs.

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  • Colleen Carey, 2017. "Technological Change and Risk Adjustment: Benefit Design Incentives in Medicare Part D," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 38-73, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:9:y:2017:i:1:p:38-73
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20140171
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christina M. Dalton & Gautam Gowrisankaran & Robert Town, 2015. "Salience, Myopia, and Complex Dynamic Incentives: Evidence from Medicare Part D," NBER Working Papers 21104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    3. Jason Brown & Mark Duggan & Ilyana Kuziemko & William Woolston, 2014. "How Does Risk Selection Respond to Risk Adjustment? New Evidence from the Medicare Advantage Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 3335-3364, October.
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    8. Michael Geruso & Timothy Layton, 2020. "Upcoding: Evidence from Medicare on Squishy Risk Adjustment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(3), pages 984-1026.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kurt Lavetti & Kosali Simon, 2018. "Strategic Formulary Design in Medicare Part D Plans," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 154-192, August.
    2. Daniel W. Sacks & Khoa Vu & Tsan-Yao Huang & Pinar Karaca-Mandic, 2017. "How do insurance firms respond to financial risk sharing regulations? Evidence from the Affordable Care Act," NBER Working Papers 24129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bijlsma, Michiel & Boone, Jan & Zwart, Gijsbert, 2017. "The complementarity between risk adjustment and community rating: Distorting market outcomes to facilitate redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 21-37.
    4. Pilny, Adam & Wübker, Ansgar & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2017. "Introducing risk adjustment and free health plan choice in employer-based health insurance: Evidence from Germany," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 330-351.
    5. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson & Kimberley H. Geissler & Benjamin Lubin, 2018. "The Impact of Partial-Year Enrollment on the Accuracy of Risk-Adjustment Systems: A Framework and Evidence," American Journal of Health Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 454-478, Fall.
    6. Layton, Timothy J. & McGuire, Thomas G. & van Kleef, Richard C., 2018. "Deriving risk adjustment payment weights to maximize efficiency of health insurance markets," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 93-110.
    7. Amanda Starc & Robert J. Town, 2015. "Externalities and Benefit Design in Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 21783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Maria Polyakova, 2016. "Regulation of Insurance with Adverse Selection and Switching Costs: Evidence from Medicare Part D," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 165-195, July.
    9. Decarolis, Francesco & Guglielmo, Andrea, 2017. "Insurers’ response to selection risk: Evidence from Medicare enrollment reforms," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 383-396.
    10. Savannah L. Bergquist & Timothy J. Layton & Thomas G. McGuire & Sherri Rose, 2018. "Intervening on the Data to Improve the Performance of Health Plan Payment Methods," NBER Working Papers 24491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jonathan Gruber, 2017. "Delivering Public Health Insurance through Private Plan Choice in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 3-22, Fall.
    12. Francesco Decarolis & Andrea Guglielmo & Calvin Luscombe, 2017. "Open Enrollment Periods and Plan Choices," NBER Working Papers 24156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Geruso, Michael & Layton, Timothy J. & McCormack, Grace & Shepard, Mark, 2019. "The Two Margin Problem in Insurance Markets," Working Paper Series rwp19-035, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    14. David Dranove & Christopher Ody & Amanda Starc, 2017. "A Dose of Managed Care: Controlling Drug Spending in Medicaid," NBER Working Papers 23956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Daniel P. Miller & Jungwon Yeo, 2019. "The Consequences of a Public Health Insurance Option: Evidence from Medicare Part D," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 5(2), pages 191-226, Spring.
    16. Lieber, Ethan M.J., 2018. "Does health insurance coverage fall when nonprofit insurers become for-profits?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 75-88.
    17. Michele Fioretti & Hongming Wang, 2019. "Subsidizing Inequality: Performance Pay and Risk Selection in Medicare," Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers 2019-15, Sciences Po Departement of Economics.
    18. Mark Shepard, 2016. "Hospital Network Competition and Adverse Selection: Evidence from the Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchange," NBER Working Papers 22600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Michael Geruso & Timothy J. Layton, 2017. "Selection in Health Insurance Markets and Its Policy Remedies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 23-50, Fall.
    20. Bergquist, Savannah L. & Layton, Timothy J. & McGuire, Thomas G. & Rose, Sherri, 2019. "Data transformations to improve the performance of health plan payment methods," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 195-207.
    21. Michael Geruso & Timothy Layton & Daniel Prinz, 2019. "Screening in Contract Design: Evidence from the ACA Health Insurance Exchanges," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 64-107, May.
    22. Dillender, Marcus, 2018. "What happens when the insurer can say no? Assessing prior authorization as a tool to prevent high-risk prescriptions and to lower costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 170-200.
    23. Tomas Pedro Sanguinetti, 2019. "How Do Couples Choose Individual Insurance Plans? Evidence from Medicare Part D," 2019 Papers psa1760, Job Market Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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