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Quality Competition, Insurance, and Consumer Choice in Health Care Markets

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  • Thomas P. Lyon

Abstract

In this model, insurance offering a choice of hospitals is valued because consumers are uncertain which hospital they will prefer ex post. A competitive insurance market facilitates tacit price collusion between hospitals; high margins induce hospitals to compete for customers through overinvestment in quality. Incentives may exist to lock in market share via managed-care plans with less choice and lower prices. As technology becomes more expensive, the market increasingly offers too little choice. A pure managed care market may emerge, with underinvestment in quality. Relative to a pure insurance regime, however, all consumers are better off under managed care. Copyright (c) 1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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  • Thomas P. Lyon, 1999. "Quality Competition, Insurance, and Consumer Choice in Health Care Markets," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(4), pages 546-580, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:8:y:1999:i:4:p:546-580
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