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The Impact of Market Size and Composition on Health Insurance Premiums: Evidence from the First Year of the ACA


  • Michael J. Dickstein
  • Mark Duggan
  • Joseph Orsini
  • Pietro Tebaldi


Under the Affordable Care Act, individual states have discretion in how they define coverage regions, within which insurers must charge the same premium to buyers of the same age, family structure, and smoking status. We exploit variation in these definitions to investigate whether the size of the coverage region affects outcomes in the ACA marketplaces. We find large consequences for small and rural markets. When states combine small counties with neighboring urban areas into a single region, the included rural markets see .6 to .8 more active insurers, on average, and savings in annual premiums of between $200 and $300.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael J. Dickstein & Mark Duggan & Joseph Orsini & Pietro Tebaldi, 2015. "The Impact of Market Size and Composition on Health Insurance Premiums: Evidence from the First Year of the ACA," NBER Working Papers 20907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20907
    Note: HC IO

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    Cited by:

    1. Mukhopadhyay, Sankar & Wendel, Jeanne & Zou, Miaomiao, 2019. "Impacts of shifting responsibility for high-cost individuals on Health Insurance Exchange plan premiums and cost-sharing provisions," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 180-194.
    2. repec:sip:dpaper:15-012 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Lieber, Ethan M.J., 2018. "Does health insurance coverage fall when nonprofit insurers become for-profits?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 75-88.
    4. Jean Marie Abraham & Coleman Drake & Jeffrey S. McCullough & Kosali Simon, 2017. "What drives insurer participation and premiums in the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace?," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 395-412, December.
    5. Kurt J. Lavetti & Thomas DeLeire & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2019. "How Do Low-Income Enrollees in the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces Respond to Cost-Sharing?," NBER Working Papers 26430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Woodard, Joshua, 2016. "Estimation of Insurance Deductible Demand under Endogenous Premium Rates," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 236151, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • 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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