By Richard M. Scheffler, Daniel R. Arnold, Brent D. Fulton, and Sherry A. Glied | Published May 2016 in Health Affairs | Link to Full Article
Recent increases in market concentration among health plans, hospitals, and medical groups raise questions about what impact such mergers are having on costs to consumers. We examined the impact of market concentration on the growth of health insurance premiums between 2014 and 2015 in two Affordable Care Act state-based Marketplaces: Covered California and NY State of Health. We measured health plan, hospital, and medical group market concentration using the well-known Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) and used a multivariate regression model to relate these measures to premium growth. Both states exhibited a positive association between hospital concentration and premium growth and a positive (but not statistically significant) association between medical group concentration and premium growth. Our results for health plan concentration differed between the two states: it was positively associated with premium growth in New York but negatively associated with premium growth in California. The health plan concentration finding in Covered California may be the result of its selectively contracting with health plans.
By Richard M. Scheffler and Sherry A. Glied | Published May 2016 in the New York Times | Link to Op-Ed
In this op-ed, Sheffler and Glied discuss the increasing concentrated health insurance market in the wake of the Affordable Health Care Act, and the need for competition and regulation to work together to benefit consumers. The two report on research comparing how the states of California and New York designed their healthcare marketplaces in response to the law, and the flexibility states have in designing their marketplaces.
By Eric R. Kessell, Richard M. Scheffler, and Stephen M. Shortell | Pubished in November 2015 in the Journal of Palliative Medicine | Link to Full Article
Community-based palliative care can improve outcomes and avoid unnecessary spending, but the effects of its widespread adoption on health care spending in California is unknown. To estimate the spending avoided if, by 2022, more than 100,000 Californians received community-based palliative care (CBPC) per year. We estimated the 6-month per-patient spending avoided through three mature CBPC programs in California and extrapolated data to predict the total avoided spending statewide over 8 years if enrollment in the three programs proceeded according to our model. If Californians participated in CBPC in the numbers envisioned, in 2014 there would have been a $72 million reduction in intensive hospital-based care, while still respecting patients’ wishes, and nearly $1.1 billion in spending could be avoided in 2022. Overall hospital spending would be reduced by more than $5.5 billion through 2022. The paper concludes that existing CBPC programs have the potential to provide care that is both in alignment with patients’ wishes and avoids substantial amounts of unnecessary hospital-based spending.
By Richard M. Scheffler, Eric R. Kessell and Margareta Brandt | Published in October 2015 in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law | Link to Full Article
We explain the establishment of Covered California, California’s health insurance marketplace. We describe the market shares of health plans in California and in each of the nineteen rating regions. We examine the empirical relationships among measures of provider market concentration, health plans, and the variation in premiums across the rating regions. We found that the concentration of medical groups and hospitals was positively associated with the variation in Covered California premium rates in the rating regions while the concentration of health plans is not statistically significant. We estimate the impact of reducing hospital concentration to levels that would exist in moderately competitive markets. This produces a predicted overall premium reduction of more than 2 percent. However, in three of the nineteen rating regions, the predicted premium reduction was more than 10 percent. These results suggest the importance of provider market concentration on premiums.
By Richard M. Scheffler and Jessica Foster | Published January 31, 2014 by the Petris Center | Link to Full Report
In its first several months of open enrollment, Covered California despite its challenges has been a bright spot among state health insurance Exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act. About 23% of national enrollments in 2013 came from California. More than 1.4 million California residents have completed Covered California applications, more than 625,000 people have enrolled in subsidized or unsubsidized health plans, and more than 1.2 million are expected to be newly enrolled in Medi-Cal. Though it experienced a slow start in October, Covered California by the end of the year had surpassed its enrollment goal for the first half of open enrollment. This report provides a summary of the Covered California rollout, including a breakdown of application and enrollment trends, plan affordability and cost estimations, and questions and concerns for future analysis.
by Brent D. Fulton, Richard M. Scheffler | Published April 2012 by the Petris Center and the California Program on Access to Care | Link to Full Report
The objective of this study is to examine health insurance rate review regulation in Minnesota and Massachusetts, to inform California policy-makers regarding evidence on prior approval authority. This evidence is intended to inform California’s proposed change from file-and-use to prior-approval authority, based on AB 52 “Health Care Coverage: Rate Approval.” The methods included reviewing the literature on rate review regulation, interviewing officials from state agencies that approve rates, and interviewing senior actuaries and executives from health insurance carriers. Three interviews were conducted on Minnesota, three interviews were conducted on Massachusetts, and two interviews were conducted on California. Minnesota was selected because it has exercised its prior approval authority for at least 15 years, which provides a long period of time to analyze. Massachusetts was selected because it only began exercising its prior approval authority—technically prior review and disapproval authority—in April 2010, providing an example of a state just starting prior approval rate review.
by Liora Bowers, Benjamin Handel, Emilio Varanini, Richard Scheffler | Published November 2011 by the Petris Center | Link to Full Briefing Document
This briefing paper serves as a background for the discussion that took place during the “Accountable Care Organizations and Antitrust Conference” held on November 11, 2011 at UC Berkeley. With the October 20, 2011 release of the final rule creating the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services has paved the way for a national move towards coordinated delivery systems known as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). This paper provides background on government policy towards an accountable care delivery system, the balance between integration efficiencies and market power, and the goals and methods of antitrust analysis within healthcare delivery. It provides context for the issues of market definition, anticompetitive effects, antitrust evaluations, and contracting practices among healthcare providers. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the California ban on the corporate practice of medicine.
By Tracy L. Finlayson and the Nicholas C. Petris Center | Published November 2007 by the Petris Center | Link to Full Report
This report summarizes baseline information derived from a survey of county mental health directors about key organizational and budgetary characteristics in California’s county mental health departments. These findings are intended to provide stakeholders, policymakers, researchers and others with a snapshot of county and system characteristics prior to the implementation of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) of 2004, which was created by the passage of Proposition 63. Much of the report’s findings, on topics such as financing, organizational structure, staffing patterns, information technology and mental health boards, cannot be found elsewhere. Key findings indicate that California’s counties, while highly diverse, share some common features and strengths. These include: 1) high participation in innovative demonstration programs, 2) minimal spending on institutional care, 3) low administrative overhead, and 4) provision of care in languages beyond the state requirements. This report can provide information on where counties are beginning their transformation process. While each county is different, the similarities between counties may be useful in providing lessons for improving the system as a whole.
By the Staff of the Nicholas C. Petris Center | Published April 2005 by the Petris Center | Link to Full Report
While hospital closures have generated a great deal of media attention and community concern, hospitals have other possible responses to the difficult financial environment. This report focuses on one such response. Are hospitals changing their inpatient service offerings in order to improve their financial health? This study is a systematic look at the changes in services offered by California hospitals from 1995 to the 2002. It shows that over the study period there were several significant shifts in service patterns. This report documents these changes and provides a systematic exploration of the possible explanations for what has happened in California’s hospital system.
By Daniel Eisenberg, Nicole Bellows, Timmothy T. Brown, Richard M. Scheffler | Published in January 2005 by the Petris Center | Link to Full Report
This report provides the first county-level comparison of a detailed set of mental health-related measures in the general California population utilizing the first California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), which took place in 2001. The main questions are how do counties differ in terms of their population’s mental health status, service utilization, insurance coverage, availability of providers, and government financial resources? This report provides data and information on a series of mental health indicators that enable us to draw a picture of the mental health status throughout Califomia. These mental health indicators include the following: ‘doing less overall due to emotional problems,’ ‘doing one’s work less effectively due to depression or anxiety,’ ‘feeling downhearted and sad,’ ‘not feeling calm and peaceful,’ and ‘lacking energy.’