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Selection Stories: Understanding Movement across Health Plans

  • Cutler, David

    (Harvard University)

  • Lincoln, Bryan

    (Office of the Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts)

  • Zeckhauser, Richard

    (Harvard University)

This study assesses the factors influencing the movement of people across health plans. We distinguish three types of cost-related transitions: adverse selection, the movement of the less healthy to more generous plans; adverse retention, the tendency for people to stay where they are when they get sick; and aging in place, where lack of all movement makes plans with initially older enrollees increase in cost over time. Using data from the Group Insurance Commission in Massachusetts, we show that aging in place and adverse selection are both quantitatively important. Each can materially impact equilibrium enrollments, especially when premiums to enrollees reflect these costs.

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File URL: https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/workingpapers/citation.aspx?PubId=6717&type=WPN
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Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp09-022.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp09-022
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  1. David M. Cutler & Sarah Reber, 1996. "Paying for Health Insurance: The Tradeoff between Competition and Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 5796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David M. Cutler & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1998. "Adverse Selection in Health Insurance," NBER Chapters, in: Frontiers in Health Policy Research, Volume 1, pages 1-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. McClellan, Mark & Cutler, David & Newhous, Joseph P., 2000. "How Does Managed Care Do It?," Scholarly Articles 2643884, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Strombom, Bruce A. & Buchmueller, Thomas C. & Feldstein, Paul J., 2002. "Switching costs, price sensitivity and health plan choice," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 89-116, January.
  5. M. Kate Bundorf & Jonathan Levin & Neale Mahoney, 2012. "Pricing and Welfare in Health Plan Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3214-48, December.
  6. Altman, Daniel & Cutler, David & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2003. "Enrollee mix, treatment intensity, and cost in competing indemnity and HMO plans," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 23-45, January.
  7. David M. Cutler & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1999. "The Anatomy of Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 7176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Matthew L. Maciejewski & Bryan Dowd & Heidi O'Connor, 2004. "Multiple Prior Years of Health Expenditures and Medicare Health Plan Choice," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 247-261, 09.
  9. Selden, Thomas M., 1999. "Premium subsidies for health insurance: excessive coverage vs. adverse selection," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 709-725, December.
  10. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
  11. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  12. Anne Beeson Royalty & Neil Solomon, 1999. "Health Plan Choice: Price Elasticities in a Managed Competition Setting," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 1-41.
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