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Competitive bidding in Medicare Advantage: Effect of benchmark changes on plan bids

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  • Song, Zirui
  • Landrum, Mary Beth
  • Chernew, Michael E.

Abstract

Bidding has been proposed to replace or complement the administered prices that Medicare pays to hospitals and health plans. In 2006, the Medicare Advantage program implemented a competitive bidding system to determine plan payments. In perfectly competitive models, plans bid their costs and thus bids are insensitive to the benchmark. Under many other models of competition, bids respond to changes in the benchmark. We conceptualize the bidding system and use an instrumental variable approach to study the effect of benchmark changes on bids. We use 2006–2010 plan payment data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published county benchmarks, actual realized fee-for-service costs, and Medicare Advantage enrollment. We find that a $1 increase in the benchmark leads to about a $0.53 increase in bids, suggesting that plans in the Medicare Advantage market have meaningful market power.

Suggested Citation

  • Song, Zirui & Landrum, Mary Beth & Chernew, Michael E., 2013. "Competitive bidding in Medicare Advantage: Effect of benchmark changes on plan bids," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1301-1312.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:32:y:2013:i:6:p:1301-1312
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2013.09.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Duggan, Mark & Starc, Amanda & Vabson, Boris, 2016. "Who benefits when the government pays more? Pass-through in the Medicare Advantage program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 50-67.
    2. 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

    Keywords

    Medicare Advantage; Competitive bidding; Premium support; Medicare financing; Health care reform;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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