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Evolving choice inconsistencies in choice of prescription drug insurance

Author: Jason T Abaluck; Jonathan Gruber; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, 2013.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 19163.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
We explore choice inconsistency over time within the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program. Using the full universe of Part D claims data, we revisit our earlier work on partial data to replicate our results showing large "foregone savings" among Part D enrollees. We also document that this foregone savings increases over time during the first four years of the Part D program. We then develop a rich dynamic  Read more...
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Details

Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Jason T Abaluck; Jonathan Gruber; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 851374221
Notes: Title from http://www.nber.org/papers/19163 viewed July 1, 2013.
"June 2013."
Description: 1 online resource : illustrations.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 19163.
Responsibility: Jason Abaluck, Jonathan Gruber.

Abstract:

We explore choice inconsistency over time within the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program. Using the full universe of Part D claims data, we revisit our earlier work on partial data to replicate our results showing large "foregone savings" among Part D enrollees. We also document that this foregone savings increases over time during the first four years of the Part D program. We then develop a rich dynamic structural framework that allows us to mathematically decompose the "foregone welfare" from inconsistent plan choices into components due to demand side factors, supply side factors, and changes in preferences over time. We find that the welfare cost of choice inconsistencies increases over time. Most importantly, we find that there is little improvement in the ability of consumers to choose plans over time; we identify and estimate little learning at either the individual or cohort level over the years of our analysis. Inertia does reduce welfare, but even in a world with no inertia we estimate that substantial welfare losses would remain. We conclude that the increased choice inconsistencies over time are driven by changes on the supply side that are not offset both because of inertia and because non-inertial consumers still make inconsistent choices.

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