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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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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

    as
    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.
    2. 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.
    3. Heiss, Florian & Leive, Adam & McFadden, Daniel & Winter, Joachim, 2013. "Plan selection in Medicare Part D: Evidence from administrative data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1325-1344.
    4. Francesco Decarolis, 2015. "Medicare Part D: Are Insurers Gaming the Low Income Subsidy Design?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(4), pages 1547-1580, April.
    5. Geruso, Michael & McGuire, Thomas G., 2016. "Tradeoffs in the design of health plan payment systems: Fit, power and balance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-19.
    6. Blume-Kohout, Margaret E. & Sood, Neeraj, 2013. "Market size and innovation: Effects of Medicare Part D on pharmaceutical research and development," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 327-336.
    7. Michael Geruso & Timothy Layton, 2015. "Upcoding: Evidence from Medicare on Squishy Risk Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 21222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Michiel Bijlsma & Jan Boone & Gijsbert Zwart, 2014. "Competition leverage: how the demand side affects optimal risk adjustment," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(4), pages 792-815, December.
    9. repec:eee:jhecon:v:56:y:2017:i:c:p:259-280 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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.
    11. Mathias Kifmann & Normann Lorenz, 2011. "Optimal cost reimbursement of health insurers to reduce risk selection," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(5), pages 532-552, May.
    12. 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.
    13. David Dranove & Craig Garthwaite & Manuel Hermosilla, 2014. "Pharmaceutical Profits and the Social Value of Innovation," NBER Working Papers 20212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Geruso & Timothy J. Layton & Daniel Prinz, 2016. "Screening in Contract Design: Evidence from the ACA Health Insurance Exchanges," NBER Working Papers 22832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:tpr:amjhec:v:4:y:2018:i:4:p:454-478 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kurt Lavetti & Kosali Simon, 2016. "Strategic Formulary Design in Medicare Part D Plans," NBER Working Papers 22338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:aea:jecper:v:31:y:2017:i:4:p:3-22 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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.
    6. Daniel W. Sacks & Khoa Vu & Tsan-Yao Huang & Pinar Karaca-Mandic, 2017. "The Effect of the Risk Corridors Program on Marketplace Premiums and Participation," NBER Working Papers 24129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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.
    8. repec:eee:jhecon:v:61:y:2018:i:c:p:93-110 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Amanda Starc & Robert J. Town, 2015. "Externalities and Benefit Design in Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 21783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 454-478, Fall.
    11. Francesco Decarolis & Andrea Guglielmo & Calvin Luscombe, 2017. "Open Enrollment Periods and Plan Choices," NBER Working Papers 24156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. repec:eee:pubeco:v:155:y:2017:i:c:p:21-37 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. repec:eee:jhecon:v:57:y:2018:i:c:p:75-88 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. 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.
    20. repec:eee:pubeco:v:165:y:2018:i:c:p:170-200 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. 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.

    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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