53 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2008
Date Written: June 2008
Prices in government and employer-sponsored health insurance markets only partially reflect insurers' expected costs of coverage for different enrollees. This can create inefficient distortions when consumers self-select into plans. We develop a simple model to study this problem and estimate it using new data on small employers. In the markets we observe, the welfare loss compared to the feasible efficient benchmark is around 2-11% of coverage costs. Three-quarters of this is due to restrictions on risk-rating employee contributions; the rest is due to inefficient contribution choices. Despite the inefficiency, we find substantial benefits from plan choice relative to single-insurer options.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Bundorf, M. Kate and Levin, Jonathan and Mahoney, Neale, Pricing and Welfare in Health Plan Choice (June 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14153. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1152693
By Sherry Glied