What Difference Does a Health Plan Make? Evidence from Random Plan Assignment in Medicaid
Exploiting the random assignment of Medicaid beneficiaries to managed care plans, we find substantial plan-specific spending effects despite plans having identical cost sharing. Enrollment in the lowest-spending plan generates 30% lower spending—driven by differences in quantity—relative to enrollment in the highest-spending plan. Rather than reducing “wasteful” spending, lower-spending plans broadly reduce medical service provision—including the provision of low-cost, high-value care—and worsen beneficiary satisfaction and health. Consumer demand follows spending: a 10 percent increase in plan-specific spending is associated with a 40 percent increase in market share. These facts have implications for the government’s contracting problem and program cost growth.
Michael Geruso & Timothy J. Layton & Jacob Wallace, 2023. "What Difference Does a Health Plan Make? Evidence from Random Plan Assignment in Medicaid," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, vol 15(3), pages 341-379. citation courtesy of