Ph.D., Wharton School,U of Pennsylvania, Applied Economics (2000)
M.B.A., Haas School of Business, Healthcare Administration (1996)
M.P.H., U of California at Berkeley (1996)
Her research focuses on health insurance markets including the determinants and effects of individual and purchaser choices, the effects of regulation in insurance markets, the interaction of public and private systems of health insurance, and incentives for insurers to improve health care quality.
While new biologics have revolutionized the treatment of age-related macular degeneration-the leading cause of severe vision loss among older adults-these new drugs have also raised concerns over the economic impact of medical innovation. The two leading agents are similar in effectiveness but vary greatly in price-up to $2,000 per injection for ranibizumab compared to $50 for bevacizumab. We examined the diffusion of these drugs in fee-for-service Medicare and Veterans Affairs (VA) systems during 2005-11, in part to assess the impact that differing financial incentives had on prescribing. Physicians treating Medicare patients have a direct financial incentive to prescribe the more expensive agent (ranibizumab), while VA physicians do not. Medicare injections of the more expensive ranibizumab peaked in 2007 at 47 percent. Beginning in 2009 the less expensive bevacizumab became the predominant therapy for Medicare patients, accounting for more than 60 percent of injections. For VA patients, the distribution of injections across the two drugs was relatively equal, particularly from 2009 to 2011. Our analysis indicates that there are opportunities in both the VA and Medicare to adopt more value-conscious treatment patterns and that multiple mechanisms exist to influence utilization.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1032
View details for PubMedID 25646102
This study assessed the extent to which differences in patients' preferences across geographic areas explained differences in traditional fee-for-service Medicare spending across Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care Hospital Referral Regions (HRRs). Preference measures were based on results of a survey that asked patients questions about their physicians, their own health status, and the care they would want in their last six months of life. We found that patients' preferences explained 5 percent of the variation across HRRs in total Medicare spending. In comparison, supply factors, such as the number of physicians, specialists, and hospital beds, explained 23 percent, and patients' health and income explained 12 percent. We also explored the relative importance of preferences in determining three components of total spending: spending at the end of life, inpatient spending, and spending on physician services. Relative to supply factors, health, and income, patients' preferences explained the largest share of variation in end-of-life spending and the smallest share of variation in spending on physician services. We conclude that variation in preferences contributes to differences across areas in Medicare spending. Medicare policy must consider both supply factors and patients' preferences in deciding how much to accommodate area variation in spending and the extent to which that variation should be subsidized by taxpayers.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.2013.1184
View details for Web of Science ID 000338187200006
Objective: To determine how choice set size affects decision quality among individuals of different levels of numeracy choosing prescription drug plans. Method: Members of an Internet-enabled panel age 65 and over were randomly assigned to sets of prescription drug plans varying in size from 2 to 16 plans from which they made a hypothetical choice. They answered questions about enrollment likelihood and the costs and benefits of their choice. The measure of decision quality was enrollment likelihood among those for whom enrollment was beneficial. Enrollment likelihood by numeracy and choice set size was calculated. A model of moderated mediation was analyzed to understand the role of numeracy as a moderator of the relationship between the number of plans and the quality of the enrollment decision and the roles of the costs and benefits in mediating that relationship. Results: More numerate adults made better decisions than less numerate adults when choosing among a small number of alternatives but not when choice sets were larger. Choice set size had little effect on decision making of less numerate adults. Differences in decision making costs between more and less numerate adults helped explain the effect of choice set size on decision quality. Conclusions: Interventions to improve decision making in the context of Medicare Part D may differentially affect lower and higher numeracy adults. The conflicting results on choice overload in the psychology literature may be explained in part by differences amongst individuals in how they respond to choice set size. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
View details for DOI 10.1037/a0032738
View details for Web of Science ID 000334574500005
View details for PubMedID 23795708
View details for Web of Science ID 000330599000009
Objective: To determine the extent to which people make choices inconsistent with expected utility theory when choosing among prescription drug insurance plans and whether tabular or graphical presentation format influences the consistency of their choices. Method: Members of an Internet-enabled panel chose between two Medicare prescription drug plans. The "low variance" plan required higher out-of-pocket payments for the drugs respondents usually took but lower out-of-pocket payments for the drugs they might need if they developed a new health condition than the "high variance" plan. The probability of a change in health varied within subjects and the presentation format (text vs. graphical) and the affective salience of the clinical condition (abstract vs. risk related to specific clinical condition) varied between subjects. Respondents were classified based on whether they consistently chose either the low or high variance plan. Logistic regression models were estimated to examine the relationship between decision outcomes and task characteristics. Results: The majority of respondents consistently chose either the low or high variance plan, consistent with expected utility theory. Half of respondents consistently chose the low variance plan. Respondents were less likely to make discrepant choices when information was presented in graphical format. Conclusions: Many people, although not all, make choices consistent with expected utility theory when they have information on differences among plans in the variance of out-of-pocket spending. Medicare beneficiaries would benefit from information on the extent to which prescription drug plans provide risk protection. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
View details for DOI 10.1037/a0033517
View details for Web of Science ID 000323799300008
Anecdotal reports suggest that substantial variation exists in private insurers' payments for physician services, but systematic evidence is lacking. Using a retrospective analysis of insurance claims for routine office visits, consultations, and preventive visits from more than forty million physician claims in 2007, we examined variations in private payments to physicians and the extent to which variation is explained by patients' and physicians' characteristics and by geographic region. We found much variation in payments for these routine evaluation and management services. Physicians at the high end of the payment distribution were generally paid more than twice what physicians at the low end were paid for the same service. Little variation was explained by patients' age or sex, physicians' specialty, place of service, whether the physician was a "network provider," or type of plan, although about one-third of the variation was associated with the geographic area of the practice. Interventions that promote more price-consciousness on the part of patients could help reduce health care spending, but more data on the specific causes of price variation are needed to determine appropriate policy responses.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0309
View details for Web of Science ID 000324681500011
BACKGROUND:: The policy environment in China is rapidly changing. Strategic planning may enable hospitals to respond more effectively to changes in their external environment, little evidence exists on the extent to which public hospitals in China adopt different strategies and the relationship between strategic decision-making and hospital performance. PURPOSES:: The purposes of our study were to determine the extent to which different hospitals adopt different strategies, whether strategies are associated with organizational culture and whether hospital strategies are associated with hospital performance. METHODOLOGY:: Presidents (or vice presidents), employees, and patients from 87 public hospitals were surveyed during 2009. Measures of strategic group were developed using cluster analysis based on the three dimensions of product position, competitive posture, and market position. Culture was measured using a tool developed by the investigators. Performance was measured based on profitability, patient satisfaction, and employee satisfaction with overall hospital development in the recent 5 years. The association of strategic group and organizational culture with hospital performance was analyzed using multivariate models. FINDINGS:: Chinese public general hospitals were classified into five strategic groups that had significant differences in product positioning, competitive posture, and market position. Hospitals of similar types based on regulation adopted different strategies. Organizational culture was not strongly associated with hospital strategic group. Although strategic group was associated with hospital profitability and patient satisfaction in the models with or without control for hospital location, these effects did not persist after controlling for organizational culture, hospital level, and hospital location. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:: It is important for public hospitals in China to make effective strategic planning and align their organizational culture with the strategies for better execution and therefore better performance. Moreover, the method of hospital strategic grouping in the study provides a new way to analyze management issues within a strategic group and between strategic groups.
View details for DOI 10.1097/HMR.0b013e3182678f9a
View details for Web of Science ID 000320698400008
View details for PubMedID 22872139
To measure perceptions of organizational culture among employees of public hospitals in China and to determine whether perceptions are associated with hospital performance.Hospital, employee, and patient surveys from 87 Chinese public hospitals conducted during 2009.Developed and administered a tool to assess organizational culture in Chinese public hospitals. Used factor analysis to create measures of organizational culture. Analyzed the relationships between employee type and perceptions of culture and between perceptions of culture and hospital performance using multivariate models.Employees perceived the culture of Chinese public hospitals as stronger in internal rules and regulations, and weaker in empowerment. Hospitals in which employees perceived that the culture emphasized cost control were more profitable and had higher rates of outpatient visits and bed days per physician per day but also had lower levels of patient satisfaction. Hospitals with cultures perceived as customer-focused had longer length of stay but lower patient satisfaction.Managers in Chinese public hospitals should consider whether the culture of their organization will enable them to respond effectively to their changing environment.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01336.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000297244200007
View details for PubMedID 22092228
The Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program places an unprecedented degree of choice in the hands of older adults despite concerns over their ability to make effective decisions and desire to have extensive choice in this context. While previous research has compared older adults to younger adults along these dimensions, our study, in contrast, examines how likelihood to delay decision making and preferences for choice differ by age among older age cohorts. Our analysis is based on responses of older adults to a simulation of enrollment in Medicare Part D. We examine how age, numeracy, cognitive reflection, and the interaction between age and performance on these instruments are related to the decision to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan and preference for choice in this context. We find that numeracy and cognitive reflection are positively associated with enrollment likelihood and that they are more important determinants of enrollment than age. We also find that greater numeracy is associated with a lower willingness to pay for choice. Hence, our findings raise concern that older adults, and, in particular, those with poorer numerical processing skills, may need extra support in enrolling in the program: they are less likely to enroll than those with stronger numerical processing skills, even though they show greater willingness to pay for choice.
View details for DOI 10.1037/a0023169
View details for Web of Science ID 000291668800007
View details for PubMedID 21534689
To examine the relationship between state insurance mandate status and the number of embryos transferred in assisted reproductive technology cycles, we conducted a retrospective analysis of clinics reporting to the publicly available national Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology registry. We found that clinics in states with comprehensive mandates transferred between 0.210 and 0.288 fewer embryos per cycle depending upon patient age, and were more likely to transfer fewer embryos than recommended for older women; however, the relationship between state mandate status and clinic birth and multiple birth rates varied by age group.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.05.037
View details for Web of Science ID 000284573700067
View details for PubMedID 20579988
Variation in the use of hospital and physician services among Medicare beneficiaries is well documented. However, less is known about the younger, commercially insured population. Using data from the Community Tracking Study to investigate this issue, we found significant variation in the use of both inpatient and outpatient services across twelve metropolitan areas. HMO insurance reduces, but does not eliminate, the extent of this variation. Our results suggest that health plan spending to better organize delivery systems and manage care may be efficient, and regulations that arbitrarily cap plans' spending on administration, such as minimum medical loss ratios, could undermine efforts to achieve better value in health care.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.2009.0810
View details for Web of Science ID 000283668700016
View details for PubMedID 21041750
The impact of choice on consumer decision making is controversial in US health policy.The authors' objective was to determine how choice set size influences decision making among Medicare beneficiaries choosing prescription drug plans.The authors randomly assigned members of an Internet-enabled panel age 65 and older to sets of prescription drug plans of varying sizes (2, 5, 10, and 16) and asked them to choose a plan. Respondents answered questions about the plan they chose, the choice set, and the decision process. The authors used ordered probit models to estimate the effect of choice set size on the study outcomes.Both the benefits of choice, measured by whether the chosen plan is close to the ideal plan, and the costs, measured by whether the respondent found decision making difficult, increased with choice set size. Choice set size was not associated with the probability of enrolling in any plan.Medicare beneficiaries face a tension between not wanting to choose from too many options and feeling happier with an outcome when they have more alternatives. Interventions that reduce cognitive costs when choice sets are large may make this program more attractive to beneficiaries.
View details for DOI 10.1177/0272989X09357793
View details for Web of Science ID 000283174800011
View details for PubMedID 20228281
To evaluate the relationship between competition among fertility clinics and assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment outcomes, particularly multiple births.Using clinic-level data from 1995 to 2001, we examined the relationship between competition and clinic-level ART outcomes and practice patterns.National database registry.Clinics performing ART.The number of clinics within a 20-mile (32.19-km) radius of a given clinic.Clinic-level births, singleton births, and multiple births per ART cycle; multiple births per ART birth; average number of embryos transferred per cycle; and the proportion of cycles for women under age 35 years.The number of competing clinics is not strongly associated with ART birth and multiple birth rates. Relative to clinics with no competitors, the rate of multiple births per cycle is lower (-0.03 percentage points) only for clinics with more than 15 competitors. Embryo transfer practices are not statistically significantly associated with the number of competitors. Clinic-level competition is strongly associated with patient mix. The proportion of cycles for patients under 35 years old is 6.4 percentage points lower for clinics with more than 15 competitors than for those with no competitors.Competition among fertility clinics does not appear to increase rates of multiple births from ART by promoting more aggressive embryo transfer decisions.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.02.159
View details for Web of Science ID 000276678100014
View details for PubMedID 18442821
Controlling health care cost growth remains a high priority for policymakers and private decisionmakers, yet little is known about sources of this growth. We examined spending growth among the privately insured between 2001 and 2006, separating the contributions of price changes from those driven by consumption. Most spending growth was driven by outpatient services and pharmaceuticals, with growth in quantities explaining the entire growth in outpatient spending and about three-quarters of growth in spending on prescription drugs. Rising prices played a greater role in growth in spending for brand-name than for generic drugs. These findings can inform efforts to control private- sector spending.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.28.5.1294
View details for Web of Science ID 000269646100008
View details for PubMedID 19738244
Who pays the healthcare costs associated with obesity? Among workers, this is largely a question of the incidence of the costs of employer-sponsored coverage. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we find that the incremental healthcare costs associated with obesity are passed on to obese workers with employer-sponsored health insurance in the form of lower cash wages. Obese workers without employer-sponsored insurance do not have a wage offset relative to their non-obese counterparts. A substantial part of the lower wages among obese women attributed to labor market discrimination can be explained by their higher health insurance premiums.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2009.02.009
View details for Web of Science ID 000266648500011
View details for PubMedID 19433210
Although policymakers have increasingly turned to provider report cards as a tool to improve health care quality, existing studies provide mixed evidence on whether they influence consumer choices. We examine the effects of providing consumers with quality information in the context of fertility clinics providing Assisted Reproductive Therapies (ART). We report three main findings. First, clinics with higher birth rates had larger market shares after the adoption of report cards relative to before. Second, clinics with a disproportionate share of young, relatively easy-to-treat patients had lower market shares after adoption versus before. This suggests that consumers take into account information on patient mix when evaluating clinic outcomes. Third, report cards had larger effects on consumers and clinics from states with ART insurance coverage mandates. We conclude that consumers respond to quality report cards when choosing among providers of ART.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2009.01.001
View details for Web of Science ID 000266648500016
View details for PubMedID 19328568
Although the objective of provider performance measurement is to improve quality of care, little evidence exists on whether it has this effect. This study examines the implementation of mandatory quality reporting for Medicare managed care (MMC) plans. We compare utilization rates of performance-measured services for Medicare beneficiaries who were and were not enrolled in these plans before and after the program's introduction. We find that the use of measured services increased among both MMC and fee-for-service beneficiaries after the adoption of performance measurement. Our results provide no evidence that performance measurement increased quality of care among MMC enrollees.
View details for Web of Science ID 000258739800004
View details for PubMedID 18767382
To examine the relationship between insurance mandates and the utilization and outcomes of assisted reproductive technologies (ART).Using clinic-level data from 1990 to 2001, we examined differences between states with and without insurance mandates in rates of utilization and outcomes of ART using multivariable least squares regression.National clinic registry data.Clinics performing ART, no patient-level data.The type of insurance mandate in each state during each year of the study.Cycles per 1,000 women aged 25-44 years, live births per 1,000 cycles, and multiple births per live ART birth.Use of ART grew rapidly during the 1990 s and grew most quickly in states that adopted comprehensive insurance mandates. Compared with states without mandates, births per cycle were 4% lower and multiples per ART birth were 2% lower in states with comprehensive mandates.Comprehensive insurance mandates are associated with greater utilization of ART and lower rates of births per cycle and multiple births per ART birth. Whether the differences in outcomes are due to differences in embryo transfer practices or to patient characteristics is unclear.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.01.167
View details for Web of Science ID 000252498700010
View details for PubMedID 17482603
To determine whether intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is associated with improved outcomes for non-male factor infertility.We examined the patient characteristics associated with treatment choice-ICSI and conventional in vitro fertilization (IVF)-among patients without a diagnosis of male factor infertility and compared outcomes between the two groups, adjusting for patient characteristics using multivariate regression models.Academic fertility center.We evaluated 696 consecutive assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycles performed for couples with normal semen analysis at the Stanford Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Center between 2002 and 2003. We compared patient characteristics, cycle details, and outcomes for ICSI and IVF.Fertilization, pregnancy, and live birth rates.Patient characteristics were similar between the two groups, except the proportion of patients with unexplained infertility (IVF 15.1% vs. ICSI 23.5%), previous fertility (IVF 62.6% vs. ICSI 45.5%), and previous ART cycle (IVF 41.2% vs. ICSI 67.7%). More oocytes were fertilized per cycle for the IVF group (6.6 oocytes versus 5.1 oocytes). Fertilization failure, pregnancy, and live birth rates did not differ between IVF and ICSI. Using logistic regressions, having had previous ART was found to be positively associated with ICSI. Treatment choice of ICSI was not associated with fertilization, pregnancy, or live birth rates.No clear evidence of improved outcomes with ICSI was demonstrated for non-male factor infertility.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2006.12.013
View details for Web of Science ID 000249751900014
View details for PubMedID 17445809
In this paper, we investigate the meaning of "affordability" in the context of health insurance. Assessing the relationship between the affordability of coverage and the large number of uninsured in the U.S. is important for understanding the barriers to purchasing coverage and evaluating the role of policy in reducing the number of uninsured. We propose several definitions of affordability and examine the implications of alternative definitions for estimates of the proportion of uninsured who are unable to afford coverage. We find that, depending on the definition, health insurance was affordable to between one-quarter and three-quarters of the uninsured in the United States in 2000.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2005.11.003
View details for Web of Science ID 000239366600003
View details for PubMedID 16806543
To determine what types of consumers use the Internet as a source of health information.A survey of consumer use of the Internet for health information conducted during December 2001 and January 2002.We estimated multivariate regression models to test hypotheses regarding the characteristics of consumers that affect information seeking behavior.Respondents were randomly sampled from an Internet-enabled panel of over 60,000 households. Our survey was sent to 12,878 panel members, and 69.4 percent of surveyed panel members responded. We collected information about respondents' use of the Internet to search for health information and to communicate about health care with others using the Internet or e-mail within the last year.Individuals with reported chronic conditions were more likely than those without to search for health information on the Internet. The uninsured, particularly those with a reported chronic condition, were more likely than the privately insured to search. Individuals with longer travel times for their usual source of care were more likely to use the Internet for health-related communication than those with shorter travel times.Populations with serious health needs and those facing significant barriers in accessing health care in traditional settings turn to the Internet for health information.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2006.00510.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000237464400013
View details for PubMedID 16704514
View details for Web of Science ID 000237855200013
To determine how the characteristics of the health benefits offered by employers affect worker insurance coverage decisions.The 1996-1997 and the 1998-1999 rounds of the nationally representative Community Tracking Study Household Survey.We use multinomial logistic regression to analyze the choice between own-employer coverage, alternative source coverage, and no coverage among employees offered health insurance by their employer. The key explanatory variables are the types of health plans offered and the net premium offered. The models include controls for personal, health plan, and job characteristics.When an employer offers only a health maintenance organization married employees are more likely to decline coverage from their employer and take-up another offer (odds ratio (OR)=1.27, p<.001), while singles are more likely to accept the coverage offered by their employer and less likely to be uninsured (OR=0.650, p<.001). Higher net premiums increase the odds of declining the coverage offered by an employer and remaining uninsured for both married (OR=1.023, p<.01) and single (OR=1.035, p<.001) workers.The type of health plan coverage an employer offers affects whether its employees take-up insurance, but has a smaller effect on overall coverage rates for workers and their families because of the availability of alternative sources of coverage. Relative to offering only a non-HMO plan, employers offering only an HMO may reduce take-up among those with alternative sources of coverage, but increase take-up among those who would otherwise go uninsured. By modeling the possibility of take-up through the health insurance offers from the employer of the spouse, the decline in coverage rates from higher net premiums is less than previous estimates.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2005.00415.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000231708000002
View details for PubMedID 16174133
The Internet has emerged as a valuable tool for health information. Half of the U.S. population lacked Internet access in 2001, creating concerns about those without access. Starting in 1999, a survey firm randomly invited individuals to join their research panel in return for free Internet access. This provides a unique setting to study the ways that people who had not previously obtained Internet access use the Internet when it becomes available to them.In 2001-2002, we surveyed 12,878 individuals 21 years of age and older on the research panel regarding use of the Internet for health; 8935 (69%) responded. We analyzed respondents who had no prior Internet access, and then compared this group to those who had prior Internet access.Among those newly provided free Internet access, 24% had used the Internet for health information in the past year, and users reported notable benefits, such as improved knowledge and self-care abilities. Not surprisingly, the no-prior-Internet group reported lower rates of using the Internet (24%) than the group that had obtained Internet access prior to joining the research panel (40%), but the 2 groups reported similar perceptions of the Internet and self-reported effects.Those who obtained Internet access for the first time by joining the panel used the Internet for health and appeared to benefit from it. Access helps explain the digital divide, although most people given free access do not use the Internet for health information.
View details for Web of Science ID 000227914000013
View details for PubMedID 15778645
To determine whether health maintenance organizations (HMOs) attract enrollees who use relatively few medical resources and whether a simple risk-adjustment system could mitigate or eliminate the inefficiency associated with risk selection.The first and second rounds of the Community Tracking Study Household Survey (CTSHS), a national panel data set of households in 60 different markets in the United States.We use regression analysis to examine medical expenditures in the first round of the survey between enrollees who switched plan types (i.e., from a non-HMO plan to an HMO plan, or vice versa) between the first and second rounds of the survey versus enrollees who remained in their original plan. The dependent variable is an enrollee's medical resource use, measured in dollars, and the independent variables include gender, age, self-reported health status, and other demographic variables.We restrict our analysis to the 6,235 non-elderly persons who were surveyed in both rounds of the CTSHS, received health insurance from their employer or the employer of a household member in both years of the survey, and were offered a choice of an HMO and a non-HMO plan in both years.We find that people who switched from a non-HMO to an HMO plan used 11 percent fewer medical services in the period prior to switching than people who remained in a non-HMO plan, and that this relatively low use persisted once they enrolled in an HMO. Furthermore, people who switched from an HMO to a non-HMO plan used 18 percent more medical services in the period prior to switching than those who remained in an HMO plan.HMOs are experiencing favorable risk selection and would most likely continue to do so even if employers adjusted health plan payments based on enrollees' gender and age because the selection is based on enrollee characteristics that are difficult to observe, such as preferences for medical care and health status.
View details for Web of Science ID 000226743200012
View details for PubMedID 15533189
Chronic conditions are among the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. The Internet is a source of health information and advice for individuals with chronic conditions and shows promise for helping individuals manage their conditions and improve their quality of life.We assessed Internet use for health information by people who had one or more of five common chronic conditions. We conducted a national survey of adults aged 21 and older, then analyzed data from 1980 respondents who had Internet access and who reported that they had hypertension, diabetes, cancer, heart problems, and/or depression.Adjusted rates for any Internet use for health information ranged from 33.8% (heart problems only) to 52.0% (diabetes only). A sizable minority of respondents - particularly individuals with diabetes - reported that the Internet helped them to manage their condition themselves, and 7.9% said information on the Internet led them to seek care from a different doctor.Use of the Internet for health information by chronically ill patients is moderate. Self-reported effects on choice of treatment or provider are small but noteworthy.
View details for PubMedID 15670445
We examined consumers' search for information about health insurance choices and their use of the Internet for that search and to manage health benefits.We surveyed a random sample of more than 4500 individuals aged 21 years and older who were members of a survey research panel during December 2001 and January 2002.The survey included questions about searching for health insurance information in 3 health insurance markets: Medicare, individual or nongroup, and employer-sponsored group. We also asked questions about use of the Internet to manage health benefits. We tabulated means of responses to each question by market and tested for independence across demographic groups using the Pearson chi-square test.We identified important differences across and within markets in the extent to which people look for information about health insurance alternatives and the role of the Internet in their search. Although many individuals were unaware of whether their employer or health plan provided a website to manage health benefits, those who used the sites generally evaluated them favorably.Our results suggest that the Internet is an important source of health insurance information, particularly for individuals purchasing coverage individually in the nongroup and Medicare markets relative to those obtaining coverage from an employer. In the case of Medicare coverage, studies focusing on beneficiaries' use of Internet resources may underestimate the Internet's importance by neglecting caregivers who use the Internet. Many individuals may be unaware of the valuable resources available through employers or health plans.
View details for Web of Science ID 000223835600005
View details for PubMedID 15515993
To examine the effects of market-level managed care activity on the treatment, cost, and outcomes of care for Medicare fee-for-service acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients.Patients from the Cooperative Cardiovascular Project (CCP), a sample of Medicare beneficiaries discharged from nonfederal acute-care hospitals with a primary discharge diagnosis of AMI from January 1994 to February 1996.We estimated models of patient treatment, costs, and outcomes using ordinary least squares and logistic regression. The independent variables of primary interest were market-area managed care penetration and competition. The models included controls for patient, hospital, and other market area characteristics.We merged the CCP data with Medicare claims and other data sources. The study sample included CCP patients aged 65 and older who were admitted during 1994 and 1995 with a confirmed AMI to a nonrural hospital.Rates of revascularization and cardiac catheterization for Medicare fee-for-service patients with AMI are lower in high-HMO penetration markets than in low-penetration ones. Patients admitted in high-HMO-competition markets, in contrast, are more likely to receive cardiac catheterization for treatment of their AMI and had higher treatment costs than those admitted in low-competition markets.The level of managed care activity in the health care market affects the process of care for Medicare fee-for-service AMI patients. Spillovers from managed care activity to patients with other types of insurance are more likely when managed care organizations have greater market power.
View details for Web of Science ID 000188758000010
View details for PubMedID 14965081
The Internet has attracted considerable attention as a means to improve health and health care delivery, but it is not clear how prevalent Internet use for health care really is or what impact it has on health care utilization. Available estimates of use and impact vary widely. Without accurate estimates of use and effects, it is difficult to focus policy discussions or design appropriate policy activities.To measure the extent of Internet use for health care among a representative sample of the US population, to examine the prevalence of e-mail use for health care, and to examine the effects that Internet and e-mail use has on users' knowledge about health care matters and their use of the health care system.Survey conducted in December 2001 and January 2002 among a sample drawn from a research panel of more than 60 000 US households developed and maintained by Knowledge Networks. Responses were analyzed from 4764 individuals aged 21 years or older who were self-reported Internet users.Self-reported rates in the past year of Internet and e-mail use to obtain information related to health, contact health care professionals, and obtain prescriptions; perceived effects of Internet and e-mail use on health care use.Approximately 40% of respondents with Internet access reported using the Internet to look for advice or information about health or health care in 2001. Six percent reported using e-mail to contact a physician or other health care professional. About one third of those using the Internet for health reported that using the Internet affected a decision about health or their health care, but very few reported impacts on measurable health care utilization; 94% said that Internet use had no effect on the number of physician visits they had and 93% said it had no effect on the number of telephone contacts. Five percent or less reported use of the Internet to obtain prescriptions or purchase pharmaceutical products.Although many people use the Internet for health information, use is not as common as is sometimes reported. Effects on actual health care utilization are also less substantial than some have claimed. Discussions of the role of the Internet in health care and the development of policies that might influence this role should not presume that use of the Internet for health information is universal or that the Internet strongly influences health care utilization.
View details for Web of Science ID 000182831200030
View details for PubMedID 12746364
Although most private health insurance in US is employment-based, little is known about how employers choose health plans for their employees. In this paper, I examine the relationship between employee preferences for health insurance and the health plans offered by employers. I find evidence that employee characteristics affect the generosity of the health plans offered by employers and the likelihood that employers offer a choice of plans. Although the results suggest that employers do respond to employee preferences in choosing health benefits, the effects of worker characteristics on plan offerings are quantitatively small.
View details for Web of Science ID 000173616800004
View details for PubMedID 11845926
This study used patient discharge data from New Jersey to examine differences in length of stay for normal, uncomplicated deliveries between patients in health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and those not in HMOs. The percentage of one-day stays increased from less than 4% for all payers in 1990 to 48.1% for HMO patients, and 31.5% for non-HMO patients in 1994. Controlling for other factors, the odds of an HMO patient staying one day were nearly twice as great as a non-HMO patient by 1994; for all patients, regardless of payer, the odds of a one-day stay in 1994 were more than 18 times the odds of a one-day stay in 1990. The strong secular trend suggests that legislation and regulations should be targeted at particular policies rather than insurers.
View details for Web of Science ID 000080272700011
View details for PubMedID 10335315