The Impact of Health Insurance Expansion on Physician Treatment Choice: Medicare Part D and Physician Prescribing

Tianyan Hu, Sandra L. Decker, Shin-Yi Chou

NBER Working Paper No. 20708
Issued in November 2014
NBER Program(s):Health Economics

We test the effect of the introduction of Medicare Part D on physician prescribing behavior by using data on physician visits from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) 2002-2004 and 2006-2009 for patients aged 60-69. We use a combined DD-RD specification that is an improvement over either the difference-in-difference (DD) or regression discontinuity (RD) designs. Comparing the discrete jump in outcomes at age 65 before and after 2006, we find a 35% increase in the number of prescription drugs prescribed or continued per visit and a 55% increase in the number of generic drugs prescribed or continued, providing evidence of physician response to changes in patient out-of-pocket costs.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20708

Published: Tianyan Hu & Sandra L. Decker & Shin-Yi Chou, 2017. "The impact of health insurance expansion on physician treatment choice: Medicare Part D and physician prescribing," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, vol 17(3), pages 333-358.

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