NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Eugene Larsen-Hallock

Department of Economics
Columbia University
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Columbia University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2018Are Health Care Services Shoppable? Evidence from the Consumption of Lower-Limb MRI Scans
with Michael Chernew, Zack Cooper, Fiona Scott Morton: w24869
We study how privately insured individuals choose lower-limb MRI scan providers. Despite significant out-of-pocket costs and little variation in quality, patients often received care in high-priced locations when lower priced options were available. The choice of provider is such that, on average, patients bypassed 6 lower-priced providers between their homes and treatment locations. We show that referring physicians heavily influence where patients receive care. The influence of referring physicians is dramatically greater than the influence of patient cost-sharing or patients’ home zip code fixed effects. Patients with vertically integrated referring physicians are also more likely to receive costlier hospital-based scans.
 
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