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Journal Publication

Mortality Effects and Choice Across Private Health Insurance Plans

Published: May 2021
Researchers analyze mortality rates of Medicare Advantage plans available and evaluate the tendency of individuals to select higher-quality health plans, as well as the impacts on individuals when lower-quality health plans are removed as options.

Using a novel instrumental variables framework, researchers quantify the variation in causal mortality effects across plans and measure how much consumers attend to this variation. They find large differences in mortality rates of Medicare Advantage plans, and that such rates are uncorrelated with existing quality ratings. Analysis showed that when plans with high mortality rates become unavailable, enrollees tend to switch to more typical plans and subsequently experience lower mortality, an influential finding in the health care space.

Abstract and Citation