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The Spillover Effects of Medicare Managed Care: Medicare Advantage and Hospital Utilization


  • Katherine Baicker
  • Michael Chernew
  • Jacob Robbins


More than a quarter of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, which was created in large part to improve the efficiency of health care delivery by promoting competition among private managed care plans. This paper explores the spillover effects of the Medicare Advantage program on the traditional Medicare program and other patients, taking advantage of changes in Medicare Advantage payment policy to isolate exogenous increases in Medicare Advantage enrollment and trace out the effects of greater managed care penetration on hospital utilization and spending throughout the health care system. We find that when more seniors enroll in Medicare managed care, hospital costs decline for all seniors and for commercially insured younger populations. Greater managed care penetration is not associated with fewer hospitalizations, but is associated with lower costs and shorter stays per hospitalization. These spillovers are substantial - offsetting more than 10% of increased payments to Medicare Advantage plans.

Suggested Citation

  • Katherine Baicker & Michael Chernew & Jacob Robbins, 2013. "The Spillover Effects of Medicare Managed Care: Medicare Advantage and Hospital Utilization," NBER Working Papers 19070, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19070
    Note: AG HC

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chernew, Michael & DeCicca, Philip & Town, Robert, 2008. "Managed care and medical expenditures of Medicare beneficiaries," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1451-1461, December.
    2. Paul A. Heidenreich & Mark McClellan & Craig Frances & Laurence C. Baker, 2001. "The Relation Between Managed Care Market Share and the Treatment of Elderly Fee-For-Service Patients with Myocardial Infarction," NBER Working Papers 8065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Glied, Sherry & Zivin, Joshua Graff, 2002. "How do doctors behave when some (but not all) of their patients are in managed care?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 337-353, March.
    4. Amy Finkelstein, 2007. "The Aggregate Effects of Health Insurance: Evidence from the Introduction of Medicare," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 1-37.
    5. Baker, Laurence C & Corts, Kenneth S, 1996. "HMO Penetration and the Cost of Health Care: Market Discipline or Market Segmentation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 389-394, May.
    6. Baker, Laurence C., 1997. "The effect of HMOs on fee-for-service health care expenditures: Evidence from Medicare," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 453-481, August.
    7. McGuire, Thomas G. & Pauly, Mark V., 1991. "Physician response to fee changes with multiple payers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 385-410.
    8. John Cawley & Michael Chernew & Catherine McLaughlin, 2005. "HMO Participation in Medicare+Choice," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 543-574, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Castro, Marcelo Araújo & Mattos, Enlinson & Patriota, Fernanda, 2016. "Spatial spillovers and political coordination in public health provision," Textos para discussão 417, FGV/EESP - Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    2. Amanda Starc & Robert J. Town, 2015. "Internalizing Behavioral Externalities: Benefit Integration in Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 21783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jonathan Gruber & Robin McKnight, 2016. "Controlling Health Care Costs through Limited Network Insurance Plans: Evidence from Massachusetts State Employees," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 219-250, May.
    4. Katherine Baicker & Jacob A. Robbins, 2015. "Medicare Payments and System-Level Health-Care Use: The Spillover Effects of Medicare Managed Care," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 399-431, Fall.
    5. Song, Zirui & Landrum, Mary Beth & Chernew, Michael E., 2013. "Competitive bidding in Medicare Advantage: Effect of benchmark changes on plan bids," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1301-1312.
    6. Marton, James & Yelowitz, Aaron & Talbert, Jeffery C., 2014. "A tale of two cities? The heterogeneous impact of medicaid managed care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 47-68.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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