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Private Provision of Social Insurance: Drug-specific Price Elasticities and Cost Sharing in Medicare Part D

Author

Listed:
  • Liran Einav
  • Amy Finkelstein
  • Maria Polyakova

Abstract

Standard theory suggests that optimal consumer cost-sharing in health insurance increases with the price elasticity of demand, yet publicly-provided drug coverage typically involves uniform cost-sharing across drugs. We investigate how private drug plans set cost-sharing in the context of Medicare Part D. We document substantial heterogeneity in the price elasticities of demand across more than 150 drugs and across more than 100 therapeutic classes, as well as substantial heterogeneity in the cost-sharing for different drugs within privately-provided plans. We find that private plans set higher consumer cost-sharing for drugs or classes with more elastic demand. Our findings suggest that benefit design may be more efficient in privately rather than publicly provided insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Maria Polyakova, 2016. "Private Provision of Social Insurance: Drug-specific Price Elasticities and Cost Sharing in Medicare Part D," NBER Working Papers 22277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22277
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kurt Lavetti & Kosali Simon, 2016. "Strategic Formulary Design in Medicare Part D Plans," NBER Working Papers 22338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:eee:jhecon:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:153-167 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:aea:jecper:v:31:y:2017:i:4:p:3-22 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. David Dranove & Christopher Ody & Amanda Starc, 2017. "A Dose of Managed Care: Controlling Drug Spending in Medicaid," NBER Working Papers 23956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Jonathan Gruber & Thomas P. Hoe & George Stoye, 2018. "Saving Lives by Tying Hands: The Unexpected Effects of Constraining Health Care Providers," NBER Working Papers 24445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Michael Geruso & Timothy J. Layton & Daniel Prinz, 2016. "Screening in Contract Design: Evidence from the ACA Health Insurance Exchanges," NBER Working Papers 22832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private

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