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Did Blue Cross and Blue Shield Suffer from Adverse Selection? Evidence from the 1950s

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  • Melissa A. Thomasson

Abstract

This paper uses a unique data set from 1957 to examine whether or not Blue Cross and Blue Shield suffered from an adverse selection death spiral after for-profit commercial insurance companies entered the market for health insurance. Results suggest that moving to experience rating may have helped the Blues counteract adverse selection in the group health insurance market. Adverse selection posed a greater problem for the Blues in the market for individual health insurance, possibly because of differences in the way the Blues screened potential enrollees relative to commercial insurance companies.

Suggested Citation

  • Melissa A. Thomasson, 2002. "Did Blue Cross and Blue Shield Suffer from Adverse Selection? Evidence from the 1950s," NBER Working Papers 9167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9167
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9167.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas Buchmueller & John Dinardo, 2002. "Did Community Rating Induce an Adverse Selection Death Spiral? Evidence from New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 280-294, March.
    2. Dubin, Jeffrey A & McFadden, Daniel L, 1984. "An Econometric Analysis of Residential Electric Appliance Holdings and Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 345-362, March.
    3. Schmertmann, Carl P., 1994. "Selectivity bias correction methods in polychotomous sample selection models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 101-132.
    4. Dolton, P. J. & Makepeace, G. H., 1987. "Interpreting sample selection effects," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 373-379.
    5. Michael Rothschild & Joseph Stiglitz, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 629-649.
    6. David M. Cutler & Sarah J. Reber, 1998. "Paying for Health Insurance: The Trade-Off between Competition and Adverse Selection," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 433-466.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Thesis Thursday: Mathilde PĂ©ron
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2017-10-19 11:00:45

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • N72 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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