Health Plan Payment in Medicaid Managed Care: A Hybrid Model of Regulated Competition

Timothy Layton, Alice K. Ndikumana, Mark Shepard

NBER Working Paper No. 23518
Issued in June 2017
NBER Program(s):Health Care, Health Economics, Public Economics

Medicaid, the government program for providing health insurance to low-income and disabled Americans, is the largest health insurer in the United States with more than 73 million enrollees. It is also the sector of the U.S. public health insurance system that relies most heavily on the tools of regulated competition with more than 60% of its enrollees enrolled in a private health plan in 2014. However, regulated competition in Medicaid differs from the typical model, emphasizing the tools of competitive procurement -- such as competitive bidding, the threat of exclusion from the market, and auto-assignment of enrollees to plans -- to attempt to improve efficiency, instead of relying primarily on the forces of consumer demand. In this paper, we discuss how Medicaid combines the tools of competitive procurement with the tools of regulated competition and some potential consequences of this hybrid model.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23518

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