The Effects of Consumer-Directed Health Plans on Health Care Spending

29 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2009 Last revised: 14 Mar 2010

See all articles by Anthony T. Lo Sasso

Anthony T. Lo Sasso

University of Illinois at Chicago - School of Public Health

Lorens A. Helmchen

The George Washington University

Robert Kaestner

University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2009

Abstract

We use unique data from an insurer that exclusively offers high-deductible, "consumer-directed" health plans to identify the effect of plan features, notably the spending account, on health care spending. Our results show that the marginal dollar in the spending account is entirely spent on outpatient and pharmacy services. In contrast, inpatient and out-of-pocket spending were not responsive to the amount in the spending account. Our results represent the first plausibly causal estimates of the components of consumer-driven health plans on health spending. The magnitudes of the effects suggest important moral hazard consequences to higher spending account levels.

Suggested Citation

Lo Sasso, Anthony T. and Helmchen, Lorens A. and Kaestner, Robert, The Effects of Consumer-Directed Health Plans on Health Care Spending (June 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15106, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1426457

Anthony T. Lo Sasso

University of Illinois at Chicago - School of Public Health ( email )

1603 West Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60612
United States

Lorens A. Helmchen

The George Washington University ( email )

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Washington, DC 20052
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2029943816 (Phone)
2029943816 (Fax)

Robert Kaestner (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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New York, NY 10016-4309
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