Quality Disclosure and Regulation: Scoring Design in Medicare Advantage

46 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2023

See all articles by Benjamin Vatter

Benjamin Vatter

Northwestern University; Stanford University

Date Written: September 25, 2022


Policymakers and market intermediaries often use quality scores to alleviate asymmetric information about product quality. Scores affect the demand for quality and, in equilibrium, its supply. Equilibrium effects break the rule whereby more information is always better, and the optimal design of scores must account for them. In the context of Medicare Advantage, I find that consumers' information is limited, and quality is inefficiently low. A simple design alleviates these issues and increases consumer surplus by 2.4 monthly premiums. More than half of the gains stem from scores' effect on quality rather than information. Scores can outperform full-information outcomes by regulating inefficient oligopolistic quality provision, and a binary certification of quality attains 94% of this welfare. Scores are informative even when coarse; firms' incentives are to produce quality at the scoring threshold, which consumers know. The primary design challenge of scores is to dictate thresholds and thus regulate quality.

Funding Information: This work benefited from generous funding from the Robert Eisner Graduate Fellowship.

Conflict of Interests: None to declare.

Keywords: disclosure, quality regulation, information design, equilibrium effects, welfare, competition

JEL Classification: L15, L11, I11, I18, D82, D83

Suggested Citation

Vatter, Benjamin, Quality Disclosure and Regulation: Scoring Design in Medicare Advantage (September 25, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4250361 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4250361

Benjamin Vatter (Contact Author)

Northwestern University ( email )

2003 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Stanford University ( email )

366 Galvez St
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://benjaminvatter.com/

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