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Are All Managed Care Plans Created Equal? Evidence from Random Plan Assignment in Medicaid

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Geruso
  • Timothy J. Layton
  • Jacob Wallace

Abstract

Exploiting random assignment of Medicaid beneficiaries to managed care plans, we identify plan-specific effects on healthcare utilization. Auto-assignment to the lowest-spending plan generates 30% lower spending than if the same enrollee were assigned to the highest-spending plan, despite identical cost-sharing. Effects via quantities, rather than differences in negotiated prices, explain these patterns. Rather than reducing “wasteful” spending, low-spending plans cause broad reductions in the use of medical services—including low-cost, high-value care—and worsen beneficiary satisfaction and health. Supply side tools circumvent the classic trade-off between financial risk protection and moral hazard, but give rise instead to a cost/quality trade-off.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Geruso & Timothy J. Layton & Jacob Wallace, 2020. "Are All Managed Care Plans Created Equal? Evidence from Random Plan Assignment in Medicaid," NBER Working Papers 27762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27762
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Timothy Layton & Alice K. Ndikumana & Mark Shepard, 2017. "Health Plan Payment in Medicaid Managed Care: A Hybrid Model of Regulated Competition," NBER Working Papers 23518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Amitabh Chandra & Evan Flack & Ziad Obermeyer, 2021. "The Health Costs of Cost-Sharing," NBER Working Papers 28439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private

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