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Health Plan Choice and Information About Out-of-Pocket Costs: an Experimental Analysis

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Schoenbaum, Michael, M. Spranca, M. Elliott, J. Bhattacharya, and P.F. Short. 2001. "Health Plan Choice and Information About Out-of-Pocket Costs: an Experimental Analysis." Inquiry, 38(1): 35-48.

Many consumers are offered two or more employer-sponsored health insurance plans, and competition among health plans for subscribers is promoted as a mechanism for balancing health care costs and quality. Yet consumers may nor receive the information necessary to make informed health plan choices, This study tests the effects on health plan choice of providing supplemental decision-support materials to inform consumers about expected health plan costs. Our main finding is that such information induces consumers to bear more risk, especially those in relatively good health. Thus our results suggest that working-age, privately insured consumers currently may be over-insuring for medical care.

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