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Does Competition from HMOs Affect Fee-For-Service Physicians?

  • Laurence C. Baker
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    This paper develops county-level estimates of HMO market share for all counties in the United States and uses them to examine the relationship between HMO market share and the fee for a normal office visit with an established patient charged by 2,845 fee-for-service (FFS) physicians. Two-stage least squares estimates indicate that increases of 10 percentage points in HMO market share are associated with decreases of approximately 11 percent in the normal office visit fee. However, further examination indicates that the incomes of the physicians in the sample are not lower in areas with higher HMO market share. In addition, the quantity of services provided, measured by the number of hours worked and the number of patients seen per week, is not higher in these areas. While it is possible that physicians induce demand to change the volume or mix of services provided to patients in ways that do not affect the number of hours worked or patients seen, another hypothesis consistent with these findings is that FFS physicians respond to competition from HMOs by adopting multi-part pricing strategies in which the price for an office visit is reduced but prices for other services are raised.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4920.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4920.

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    Date of creation: Nov 1994
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4920
    Note: HC
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    1. McCarthy, Thomas R., 1985. "The competitive nature of the primary-care physician services market," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 93-117, June.
    2. Noether, Monica, 1988. "Competition among hospitals," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 259-284, September.
    3. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
    4. John Bound & David A. Jaeger & Regina Baker, 1993. "The Cure Can Be Worse than the Disease: A Cautionary Tale Regarding Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Schwartz, Alan & Wilde, Louis L, 1982. "Imperfect Information, Monopolistic Competition, and Public Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 18-23, May.
    6. Mark V. Pauly & Mark A. Satterthwaite, 1981. "The Pricing of Primary Care Physicians' Services: A Test of the Role of Consumer Information," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 488-506, Autumn.
    7. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    8. K. Newey, Whitney, 1985. "Generalized method of moments specification testing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 229-256, September.
    9. Hill, Steven C. & Wolfe, Barbara L., 1997. "Testing the HMO competitive strategy: An analysis of its impact on medical care resources," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 261-286, June.
    10. Cromwell, Jerry & Mitchell, Janet B., 1986. "Physician-induced demand for surgery," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 293-313, December.
    11. Reinhardt, Uwe E., 1985. "The theory of physician-induced demand reflections after a decade," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 187-193, June.
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