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Marketplace Plan Payment Options for Dealing with High-Cost Enrollees

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  • Timothy J. Layton

    () (Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School)

  • Thomas G. McGuire

    (Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School)

Abstract

Two of the three elements of the ACA's “premium stabilization program,” reinsurance and risk corridors, are set to expire in 2017, leaving risk adjustment alone to protect plans against risk of high-cost cases. This paper considers potential modifications of the HHS risk adjustment methodology to maintain plan protection against risk from high-cost cases within the current regulatory framework. We show analytically that modifications of the transfer formula and of the risk adjustment model itself are mathematically equivalent to a conventional actuarially fair reinsurance policy. Furthermore, closely related modifications of the transfer formula or the risk adjustment model can improve on conventional reinsurance by figuring transfers or estimating risk adjustment model weights recognizing the presence of a reinsurance function. In the empirical section, we estimate risk adjustment models with an updated and selected version of the data used to calibrate the federal payment models, and show, using simulation methods, that proposed modifications improve fit at the person level and protect small insurers against high-cost risk better than conventional reinsurance. We simulate various “attachment points” for the reinsurance equivalent policies and quantify the trade-offs of higher and lower attachment points.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy J. Layton & Thomas G. McGuire, 2017. "Marketplace Plan Payment Options for Dealing with High-Cost Enrollees," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 3(2), pages 165-191, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:amjhec:v:3:y:2017:i:2:p:165-191
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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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    7. Timothy J. Layton & Thomas G. McGuire & Anna D. Sinaiko, 2016. "Risk Corridors and Reinsurance in Health Insurance Marketplaces: Insurance for Insurers," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 2(1), pages 66-95, January.
    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.
    9. McGuire, Thomas G. & Glazer, Jacob & Newhouse, Joseph P. & Normand, Sharon-Lise & Shi, Julie & Sinaiko, Anna D. & Zuvekas, Samuel H., 2013. "Integrating risk adjustment and enrollee premiums in health plan payment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1263-1277.
    10. McGuire, Thomas G. & Newhouse, Joseph P. & Normand, Sharon-Lise & Shi, Julie & Zuvekas, Samuel, 2014. "Assessing incentives for service-level selection in private health insurance exchanges," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 47-63.
    11. Sherri Rose & Julie Shi & Thomas G. McGuire & Sharon-Lise T. Normand, 2017. "Matching and Imputation Methods for Risk Adjustment in the Health Insurance Marketplaces," Statistics in Biosciences, Springer;International Chinese Statistical Association, vol. 9(2), pages 525-542, December.
    12. Schillo, Sonja & Lux, Gerald & Wasem, Juergen & Buchner, Florian, 2016. "High cost pool or high cost groups—How to handle high(est) cost cases in a risk adjustment mechanism?," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 141-147.
    13. Timothy J. Layton & Randall P. Ellis & Thomas G. McGuire, 2015. "Assessing Incentives for Adverse Selection in Health Plan Payment Systems," NBER Working Papers 21531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas G. McGuire & Anna L. Zink & Sherri Rose, 2020. "Simplifying and Improving the Performance of Risk Adjustment Systems," NBER Working Papers 26736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Thomas G. McGuire & Sonja Schillo & Richard C. van Kleef, 2018. "Reinsurance, Repayments, and Risk Adjustment in Individual Health Insurance: Germany, The Netherlands and the U.S. Marketplaces," NBER Working Papers 25374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Maria Polyakova & Stephen P. Ryan, 2019. "Subsidy Targeting with Market Power," NBER Working Papers 26367, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    health insurance; marketplaces; reinsurance; risk adjustment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private

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