Department of Economics
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
Institutional Affiliation: Columbia University
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|July 2018||Are Health Care Services Shoppable? Evidence from the Consumption of Lower-Limb MRI Scans|
with Michael Chernew, Zack Cooper, Fiona Scott Morton: w24869
We study how privately insured individuals choose lower-limb MRI scan providers. Despite significant out-of-pocket costs and little variation in quality, patients often received care in high-priced locations when lower priced options were available. The choice of provider is such that, on average, patients bypassed 6 lower-priced providers between their homes and treatment locations. We show that referring physicians heavily influence where patients receive care. The influence of referring physicians is dramatically greater than the influence of patient cost-sharing or patients’ home zip code fixed effects. Patients with vertically integrated referring physicians are also more likely to receive costlier hospital-based scans.