Putting Health Back into Health Insurance Choice

Medical Care Research and Review, Forthcoming

Posted: 4 Apr 2014

See all articles by Pavel D. Atanasov

Pavel D. Atanasov

Pytho LLC

Tom Baker

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Date Written: March 31, 2014


What are the barriers to voluntary take-up of high-deductible plans? We address this question using a large-scale employer survey conducted after an open-enrollment period in which a new high-deductible plan was first introduced. Only 3% of the employees chose this plan, despite the respondents’ recognition of its financial advantages. Employees who believed that the high-deductible plan provided access to top physicians in the area were three times more likely to choose it than employees who did not share this belief. A framed field experiment using a similar choice menu showed that displaying additional financial information did not increase high-deductible plan take-up. However, when plans were presented as identical except for the deductible, respondents were highly likely to choose the high-deductible plan, especially in two-way choice. These results suggest that informing plan choosers about high-deductible plans’ health access provisions may affect choice more strongly than focusing on their financial advantages.

Keywords: Health Insurance Choice, Employer Health Plans, Consumer Choice

JEL Classification: D12, D83, I11

Suggested Citation

Atanasov, Pavel D. and Baker, Tom, Putting Health Back into Health Insurance Choice (March 31, 2014). Medical Care Research and Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2419713

Pavel D. Atanasov (Contact Author)

Pytho LLC ( email )

866 President Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
United States
7173335045 (Phone)
11215 (Fax)

Tom Baker

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-746-2185 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.upenn.edu/cf/faculty/thbaker/

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