The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) announced on May 9, 2018 that Amitabh Chandra, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy and director of health policy research at Harvard Kennedy School, is the recipient of their 2018 Research and Journalism Award in the research category for his coauthored article, "What Does a Deductible Do? The Impact of Cost-Sharing on Health Care Prices, Quantities and Spending Dynamics." The article, coauthored by Zarek C. Brot-Goldberg, Benjamin R. Handel, and Jonathan T. Kolstad, was published in the August 2017 issue of Quarterly Journal of Economics. The $10,000 prize will be awarded on June 5 in Washington, DC.
The article examines consumer responsiveness to medical care prices, leveraging a natural experiment where a large employer switched from an insurance plan providing free health care to one with a high deductible. As a result of the change, the firm spent about 12% less on health care. After two years, however, there was no evidence that employees had learned to price shop; they still visited the same providers they always had. Moreover, while the workers reduced the quantities of services they received, they did so with both low-value services and medically important ones.
The NIHCM is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the health of all Americans by spurring workable and creative solutions to pressing health care problems.
Chandra is a member of the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) Panel of Health Advisors, and is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). His research focuses on innovation and cost-growth in healthcare, medical malpractice, and racial disparities in healthcare. The Harvard Kennedy School Healthcare Policy Program is located at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government .