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Selection Stories: Understanding Movement Across Health Plans

  • David M. Cutler
  • Bryan Lincoln
  • Richard J. Zeckhauser

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: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15164.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15164.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Publication status: published as Cutler, David & Lincoln, Bryan & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2010. "Selection stories: Understanding movement across health plans," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 821-838, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15164
Note: AG HC HE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. M. Kate Bundorf & Jonathan D. Levin & Neale Mahoney, 2008. "Pricing and Welfare in Health Plan Choice," NBER Working Papers 14153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David M. Cutler & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1997. "Adverse Selection in Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 6107, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Daniel Altman & David M. Cutler & Richard Zeckhauser, 2000. "Enrollee Mix, Treatment Intensity, and Cost in Competing Indemnity and HMO Plans," NBER Working Papers 7832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Cutler, David M. & Zeckhauser, Richard J., 2000. "The anatomy of health insurance," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 563-643 Elsevier.
  9. McClellan, Mark & Cutler, David & Newhous, Joseph P., 2000. "How Does Managed Care Do It?," Scholarly Articles 2643884, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. David M. Cutler & Sarah J. Reber, 1998. "Paying For Health Insurance: The Trade-Off Between Competition And Adverse Selection," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 433-466, May.
  11. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
  12. 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.
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