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The effect of increased cost‐sharing on low‐value service use

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Listed:
  • Jonathan Gruber
  • Johanna Catherine Maclean
  • Bill Wright
  • Eric Wilkinson
  • Kevin G. Volpp

Abstract

We examine the effect of a value‐based insurance design (VBID) program implemented at a large public employer in the state of Oregon. The program substantially increased cost‐sharing for several healthcare services likely to be of low value for most patients: diagnostic services (e.g., imaging services) and surgeries (e.g., spinal surgeries for pain). Using a difference‐in‐differences design coupled with granular, administrative health insurance claims data over the period 2008–2012, we estimate the change in low‐value service use among beneficiaries before and after program implementation relative to a comparison group not exposed to the VBID. Our findings suggest that the VBID significantly reduced the use of targeted services, with an implied elasticity of demand of −0.22. We find no evidence that the VBID led to substitution to non‐targeted services or increased overall healthcare costs. However, we also observe no evidence that the program led to cost‐savings.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Gruber & Johanna Catherine Maclean & Bill Wright & Eric Wilkinson & Kevin G. Volpp, 2020. "The effect of increased cost‐sharing on low‐value service use," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(10), pages 1180-1201, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:29:y:2020:i:10:p:1180-1201
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.4127
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Chris Sampson’s journal round-up for 12th October 2020
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2020-10-12 11:00:03

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