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Quality Competition, Insurance, and Consumer Choice in Health Care Markets

Thomas Lyon ()

Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, 1999, vol. 8, issue 4, 546-580

Abstract: In this model, insurance offering a choice of hospitals is valued because consumers are uncertain which hospital they will prefer ex post. A competitive insurance market facilitates tacit price collusion between hospitals; high margins induce hospitals to compete for customers through overinvestment in quality. Incentives may exist to lock in market share via managed‐care plans with less choice and lower prices. As technology becomes more expensive, the market increasingly offers too little choice. A pure managed care market may emerge, with underinvestment in quality. Relative to a pure insurance regime, however, all consumers are better off under managed care.

Date: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:8:y:1999:i:4:p:546-580