Does Seeing the Doctor More Often Keep You Out of the Hospital?
By exploiting a unique health insurance benefit design, we provide novel evidence on the causal association between outpatient and inpatient care. Our results indicate that greater outpatient spending was associated with more hospital admissions: a $100 increase in outpatient spending was associated with a 2.7% increase in the probability of having an inpatient event and a 4.6% increase in inpatient spending among enrollees in our sample. Moreover, we present evidence that the increase in hospital admissions associated with greater outpatient spending was for conditions in which it is plausible to argue that the physician and patient could exercise discretion.
Partial funding for this research was provided by the American Enterprise Institute as part of its National Research Initiative. We thank Jonathan Kolstad, Leighton Ku, Judy Lave, Thomas Miller, Steve Parente, and Coady Wing for their comments on an earlier version of this article, and participants at a presentation of this research at the American Enterprise Institute, the American Society of Health Economists, Carnegie Mellon University, DePaul University, Pittsburgh University, Rice University, University of California-San Francisco, University of Chicago, University of South Florida, and Washington University for their comments. Outstanding research assistance was provided by Jeff Schiman. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Kaestner, Robert & Sasso, Anthony T. Lo, 2015. "Does seeing the doctor more often keep you out of the hospital?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 259-272. citation courtesy of