Estimating the price elasticity of demand through value-based formulary designs

In 2010, Premera Blue Cross (Premera), a large nonprofit health plan in the Pacific Northwest implemented a value-based formulary design for its beneficiaries.   In essence, enrollees could purchase high-value treatments for low copayments and low-value treatments for higher copayments.  Can we use this change from more standard to value-base formulary designs to estimate the price elasticity…

Effect of delayed reimbursement on utilization of medical services

A recent paper by Hai Zhong (2011) finds that health insurance that provides immediate reimbursement for health care services significantly increases the likelihood of patients seeking outpatient treatment in China compared to reimbursement beneficiaries with a delay. China isn’t the only country where insurance companies provide delayed reimbursement. In fact, in France patients pay the full cost…

Cash and Counselling

Many economists claim that insurance that gives  sick people cash to pay for their medical treatments is more efficient than insurance that provides in-kind medical services directly.  Although providing in-kind services is more likely to decrease the number of false claimants than insurance that provides cash, cash benefits allow beneficiaries to control how they spend…

Value-Based Cost Sharing

Many policy experts have been proponents of value-based cost sharing.  Under value-based cost sharing, medical care that is seen to provide a higher marginal benefit to the patient will have lower coinsurance rates than medical care with lower marginal benefits.  If value-based cost sharing would be implemented, preventive care should have low coinsurance rates because…

Self-protection and insurance

Typically, economists when economists look at the health insurance market, they focus on the insurance side of it. By this I mean to define insurance as the purchase of a product which will reimburse the buyer in the case of an adverse event. However, one must also look at the concept of protection. Protection is…