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The Effects of Consumer-Directed Health Plans on Health Care Spending

  • Anthony T. Lo Sasso
  • Lorens A. Helmchen
  • Robert Kaestner

We use unique data from an insurer that exclusively offers high-deductible, "consumer-directed" health plans to identify the effect of plan features, notably the spending account, on health care spending. Our results show that the marginal dollar in the spending account is entirely spent on outpatient and pharmacy services. In contrast, inpatient and out-of-pocket spending were not responsive to the amount in the spending account. Our results represent the first plausibly causal estimates of the components of consumer-driven health plans on health spending. The magnitudes of the effects suggest important moral hazard consequences to higher spending account levels.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15106.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15106.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Publication status: published as Anthony T. Lo Sasso & Lorens A. Helmchen & Robert Kaestner, 2010. "The Effects of Consumer-Directed Health Plans on Health Care Spending," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 77(1), pages 85-103.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15106
Note: HE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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