Information Asymmetry, Insurance, and the Decision to Hospitalize
In a theoretical model, we analyze the effects of various kinds of demand- and supply-side incentives in the context of a model in which patients and doctors must decide not only on an aggregate quantity of health services to use in treating various kinds of illness, but also have a choice between different kinds of providers (in particular, outpatient services rendered by primary-care physicians or inpatient services provided by hospital-based specialists). We present two broad models, the traditional fee-for-service payment scheme (with an without information asymmetry) and a managed care setup where physicians are paid via capitation. We find that a second-best optimal managed care plan may dominate (under certain conditions) a second-best optimal conventional plan with cost control through demand-side cost sharing.
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