Right now, many consumers are signing up for healthcare via the new health insurance exchanges set up by the federal and state governments. Using simulated exchanges modeled on the design of the actual exchanges, alarming new research from Columbia Business School suggests that more than 80% of consumers may be unable to make a clear–eyed estimate of their needs and will unknowingly choose a higher cost plan than needed.
"Consumers' failure to identify the most appropriate plan has considerable consequences on both their pocketbooks as well as the cost of the overall system," says Professor Eric Johnson, co–author of the report and co–director of Columbia Business School's Center for Decision Sciences. "If consumers can't identify the most cost–efficient plan for their needs, the exchanges will fail to produce competitive pressures on healthcare providers and bring down costs across the board, one of the main advantages of relying upon choice and markets."
Johnson, a noted expert in the area of consumer behavior and how it applies to public policy, has spent the last year advising several state health exchange systems on their designs and structure as a member of an advisory board run by Pacific Business Group on Health.
The research, published in PLOS ONE and titled Can Consumers Make Affordable Care Affordable? The Value of Choice Architecture, conducted six experiments asking people of varying education levels to choose the most cost–effective policy using websites modeled on the current exchanges.
The results lead to some startling conclusions, including:
•The average consumer stands to lose on average $611 — roughly half a week's salary for a family making $42,000 per year — by failing to choose the most cost-effective option for their needs.
•Because the federal government will subsidize many policies, American taxpayers could pay an additional $9 billion for consumer's mistakes in choosing more costly plans.
•Surprisingly, providing monetary incentives alone did not improve outcomes. Participants were offered $1 for every correct answer and entrance into a lottery that pays one winner $200, yet 79% of participants still chose the wrong plan, inadvertently adding $419 to the cost of their health insurance.
Johnson cautioned against misuse of the research: "Amid the political heat around the healthcare law, there's going to be a great propensity for some politicians to jump on this study and misinterpret these results. This research presents no empirical evidence that in any way is an argument for or against the Affordable Care Act itself. Instead, this is research about the difficulties and complexities in creating the actual delivery systems, which is being done in both blue and red states."Prescriptions to Improve Outcomes
•Limit the number of choices: Exchanges that limit their amount of choices in healthcare plans will help to avoid confusion among consumers (Utah offers 99 healthcare options for participants).
"Designers of the exchanges should take heart and know that they can significantly improve consumer performance by implementing some easy, straightforward tools such as just–in–time education, smart defaults, and cost calculators."
The paper, Can Consumers Make Affordable Care Affordable? The Value of Choice Architecture, was authored by Eric J. Johnson, The Norman Eig Professor of Business Marketing at Columbia Business School; Ran Hassin, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Tom Baker, University of Pennsylvania Law School; Allison T. Bajger, Columbia University; and Galen Treuer, University of Miami. Download the full report at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2291598.About Columbia Business School
Karen Paff | EurekAlert!
Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences