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Does the framing of patient cost-sharing incentives matter? The effects of deductibles vs. no-claim refunds

CEPR2018.07.12

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In light of increasing health care expenditures, patient cost-sharing schemes have emerged as one of the main policy tools to reduce medical spending. We show that the effect of patient cost-sharing schemes on health care expenditures is not only determined by the economic incentives they provide, but also by the way these economic incentives are framed. Patients react to changes in economic incentives almost twice as strongly under a deductible policy than under a no-claims refund policy. Our preferred explanation is that individuals are loss-averse and respond differently to both schemes because they perceive deductible payments as a loss and no-claim refunds as a gain.

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