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Hospital Network Competition and Adverse Selection: Evidence from the Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchange

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  • Mark Shepard

Abstract

Health insurers increasingly compete on their covered networks of medical providers. Using data from Massachusetts’ pioneer insurance exchange, I find substantial adverse selection against plans covering the most prestigious and expensive “star” hospitals. I highlight a theoretically distinct selection channel: these plans attract consumers loyal to the star hospitals and who tend to use their high-price care when sick. Using a structural model, I show that selection creates a strong incentive to exclude star hospitals but that standard policy solutions do not improve net welfare. A key reason is the connection between selection and moral hazard in star hospital use.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Shepard, 2016. "Hospital Network Competition and Adverse Selection: Evidence from the Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchange," NBER Working Papers 22600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22600
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    Cited by:

    1. Mark Shepard & Katherine Baicker & Jonathan Skinner, 2020. "Does One Medicare Fit All? The Economics of Uniform Health Insurance Benefits," Tax Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 1-41.
    2. Camille Landais & Arash Nekoei & Peter Nilsson & David Seim & Johannes Spinnewijn, 2017. "Risk-based Selection in Unemployment Insurance: Evidence and Implications," STICERD - Public Economics Programme Discussion Papers 33, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    3. Bijlsma, Michiel & Boone, Jan & Zwart, Gijsbert, 2017. "The complementarity between risk adjustment and community rating: Distorting market outcomes to facilitate redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 21-37.
    4. Drake, Coleman, 2019. "What are consumers willing to pay for a broad network health plan?: Evidence from covered California," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 63-77.
    5. David Dranove & Christopher Ody & Amanda Starc, 2021. "A Dose of Managed Care: Controlling Drug Spending in Medicaid," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 170-197, January.
    6. Sonia Jaffe & Mark Shepard, 2017. "Price-Linked Subsidies and Health Insurance Markups," Working Papers 2017-084, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    7. Avi Dor & William Encinosa & Kathleen Carey, 2020. "Hospital performance standards and medical pricing: The impact of information disclosure in cardiac care," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 492-515, July.
    8. Michael Geruso & Timothy J. Layton, 2017. "Selection in Health Insurance Markets and Its Policy Remedies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 23-50, Fall.
    9. Timothy Layton & Ellen J. Montz & Mark Shepard, 2017. "Health Plan Payment in U.S. Marketplaces: Regulated Competition with a Weak Mandate," NBER Working Papers 23444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Bergquist, Savannah L. & Layton, Timothy J. & McGuire, Thomas G. & Rose, Sherri, 2019. "Data transformations to improve the performance of health plan payment methods," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 195-207.
    11. Michael Geruso & Timothy Layton & Daniel Prinz, 2019. "Screening in Contract Design: Evidence from the ACA Health Insurance Exchanges," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 64-107, May.
    12. Naoki Aizawa & You Suk Kim, 2020. "Government Advertising in Market-Based Public Programs: Evidence from the Health Insurance Marketplace," NBER Working Papers 27695, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Ericson, Keith M. Marzilli & Starc, Amanda, 2016. "How product standardization affects choice: Evidence from the Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchange," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 71-85.
    14. Matthew Panhans, 2019. "Adverse Selection in ACA Exchange Markets: Evidence from Colorado," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 1-36, April.
    15. Savannah L. Bergquist & Timothy J. Layton & Thomas G. McGuire & Sherri Rose, 2018. "Intervening on the Data to Improve the Performance of Health Plan Payment Methods," NBER Working Papers 24491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Jonathan Gruber, 2017. "Delivering Public Health Insurance through Private Plan Choice in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 3-22, Fall.
    17. Francesco Decarolis & Andrea Guglielmo & Calvin Luscombe, 2017. "Open Enrollment Periods and Plan Choices," NBER Working Papers 24156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Geruso, Michael & Layton, Timothy J. & McCormack, Grace & Shepard, Mark, 2019. "The Two Margin Problem in Insurance Markets," Working Paper Series rwp19-035, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    19. Luís Sá & Odd Rune Straume, 2020. "Quality provision in hospital markets with demand inertia:The role of patient expectations," NIPE Working Papers 03/2020, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    20. Francesco Decarolis & Andrea Guglielmo & Clavin Luscombe, 2020. "Open enrollment periods and plan choices," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(7), pages 733-747, July.
    21. Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Yunan Ji & Neale Mahoney, 2020. "Voluntary Regulation: Evidence from Medicare Payment Reform," NBER Working Papers 27223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Sonia P. Jaffe & Mark Shepard, 2017. "Price-Linked Subsidies and Imperfect Competition in Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 23104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Thomas G. McGuire & Anna L. Zink & Sherri Rose, 2020. "Simplifying and Improving the Performance of Risk Adjustment Systems," NBER Working Papers 26736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    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
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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