Christine Eibner

Photo of Christine Eibner
Paul O'Neill Alcoa Chair in Policy Analysis; Director, Payment, Cost, and Coverage Program; Director, RAND Compare; Senior Economist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Washington Office


Ph.D. in economics, University of Maryland, College Park

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Christine Eibner is the Paul O'Neill Alcoa Chair in Policy Analysis; director, Payment, Cost, and Coverage Program; and a senior economist at the RAND Corporation.

Her research focuses on health insurance reforms, including modifications to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), changes to health insurance benefit design, and ACA replacement proposals. She currently leads an analysis of the effects of COVID-19 on insurance coverage in New York State, and policy options to address coverage loss. Additionally, she leads the evaluation of CMS’s Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design Model Test, and oversees a large technical assistance contract for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her work on health insurance reform includes topics such as 1332 waivers, cost containment strategies, and state single payer plans. In 2016, she was awarded the AcademyHealth HSR (Health Services Research) Impact Award for her work on the impact of modifications to the Affordable Care Act.

Eibner earned her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland, College Park and her bachelor's degree in English and economics from the College of William and Mary.

Recent Projects

  • Socioeconomic disparities in health
  • Employer-sponsored insurance
  • Military medical policy
  • Modeling the effect of health care policy changes on costs, insurance coverage, and other outcomes
  • Analysis of health care reform options

Selected Publications

Miller, Amalia R., Christine Eibner, Carole Roan Gresenz, "Financing of Employer Sponsored Health Insurance Plans Before and After Health Reform: What Consumers Don’t Know Won’t Hurt Them?" International Review of Law and Economics, 36, 2013

Price, Carter C. and Christine Eibner, "For States that Opt Out of Medicaid Expansion: 3.6 Million Fewer Insured and $8.4 Billion Less in Federal Payments," Health Affairs, 32(6), 2013

Cordova, Amado, Christine Eibner, Raffaele Vardavas, James Broyles, Federico Girosi, "Modeling Employer Self-Insurance Decisions After the Affordable Care Act," Health Services Research, 48(2p2), 2013

Cordova, Amado, Frederico Girosi, Sarah Nowak, Christine Eibner, Kenneth Finegold, "The COMPARE Microsimulation Model and the U.S. Affordable Care Act," International Journal of Microsimulation, 6(3), 2013

Eibner, Christine, Dana P. Goldman, Jeffrey Sullivan, Alan M. Garber, "Three Large-Scale Changes to the Medicare Program Could Curb Its Costs but also Reduce Enrollment," Health Affairs, 32(5), 2013

Benjamin F. Mundell, Mark W. Friedberg, Christine Eibner and William C. Mundell, "US Military Primary Care: Problems, Solutions, And Implications For Civilian Medicine," Health Affairs, 32(11), 2013

Griffin, Beth Ann, Christine Eibner, Chloe E. Bird, Adria Jewell, Karen Margolis, Regina Shih, Mary Ellen Slaughter, Eric A. Whitsel, Matthew Allison, Jose J. Escarce, "The Relationship between Coronary Heart Disease and Urban Sprawl in Women," Health & Place, 20, 2013

Saltzman, Evan and Christine Eibner, Evaluating the “Keep Your Health Plan Fix”: Implications for the Affordable Care Act Compared to Legislative Alternatives, RAND (RR-529), 2014

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: CNBC; KJZZ-FM Online; PolitiFact; Tradeoffs


  • President Joe Biden signs the American Rescue Plan in the Oval Office, at the White House in Washington, D.C., March, 11, 2021, photo by Doug Mills/Pool/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Temporary Safety-Net Policies Prevented Mass Insurance Loss During the Pandemic

    Although it provided a foundation, the ACA alone could not have absorbed the effects of the pandemic's sudden job losses on health care coverage. Temporary expansions to the safety net enacted by Congress also were necessary to stem coverage loss. As the pandemic continues, policymakers will want to keep safety-net provisions as available policy options.

    Dec 13, 2021 The RAND Blog

  • People rally at the Poor People's Campaign Moral Monday demonstration near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., August 2, 2021, photo by Bryan Olin Dozier/Reuters

    Is the Fight for $15 Going to Cost Low-Wage Workers Their Health Insurance?

    Minimum wage increases can lead to reductions in employer-sponsored health insurance for some workers and their dependents. If policymakers want to raise the minimum wage, they should look beyond standard labor market outcomes and take into account other potential effects.

    Oct 11, 2021 Newsweek

  • Stethoscope and U.S. one hundred dollar bill with face mask on insurance form, photo by aldarinho/Getty Images

    ACA Subsidies for Higher-Income Families Are Key to Enrolling More Americans

    The House Ways and Means Committee has proposed several insurance reforms in its emergency COVID-19 relief package, including increasing subsidizes and extending subsidies to people with higher incomes. The proposed combined approach is a far more efficient means of covering uninsured Americans than enhancing subsidies only for those who are currently eligible.

    Mar 1, 2021 Health Affairs

  • Clear piggy bank with coins and red medical case, photo by Altayb/Getty Images

    Options for Designing a Public Option

    State and federal policymakers are considering adding state-backed public options to the individual market in an effort to expand health coverage and improve affordability. We analyzed what would happen if public options became available in U.S. health insurance exchanges.

    May 28, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., January 19, 2020, photo by Will Dunham/Reuters

    What If the Supreme Court Strikes Down the ACA During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

    With COVID-19 spreading across the United States, the fate of the Affordable Care Act is once again up in the air, hanging on the outcome of a Supreme Court case. Should the law be overturned, upwards of 20 million people could lose their health insurance during one of the deadliest pandemics in modern history.

    Apr 3, 2020 The Hill

  • The state flag of New York on a capsule and pills on a spoon

    All Health Policy Is Local: The Case of the Individual Mandate Penalty in New York

    As with many Affordable Care Act policies, how New York is dealing with the absence of the individual mandate penalty is a potent reminder that all health policy is local.

    Oct 30, 2018 The Health Care Blog

  • Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 13, 2017

    Misconceptions About 'Medicare for All'

    Medicare for All is a talking point for both major U.S. political parties. Would it be free? Would people have to switch doctors? Would waits be long? Misconceptions abound about single-payer proposals and their likely effects. Here are the facts.

    Oct 27, 2018 USA Today

  • Health care spending, money, medication, stethoscope

    Understanding the Impact of the Elimination of the Individual Mandate Penalty

    Starting in 2019, the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate penalty will be eliminated, effectively ending the law's requirement that most people have health insurance. While declines in coverage and increases in premiums are likely, the magnitudes of these effects are highly uncertain.

    Aug 10, 2018 The Commonwealth Fund Blog

  • Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), accompanied by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaks with reporters following the party luncheons on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 19, 2017.

    Do Americans Expect Too Much from Health Insurance?

    Americans expect affordable coverage for pre-existing conditions, access to routine services, and protection from unpredictable and significant financial risk from accidents or illness. As a product designed primarily for risk protection, insurance may not be the most efficient or affordable approach to achieving all of these objectives.

    Sep 23, 2017 U.S. News & World Report

  • Health care professional reviews insurance information with patient

    Four Steps That Could Stabilize the Health Insurance Market

    Congress will soon discuss options to stabilize the individual market and ensure that all Americans have access to affordable coverage. Policymakers could encourage enrollment, make targeted investments to lower premiums, fund cost-sharing reductions, and enforce the individual mandate.

    Aug 25, 2017 The Hill

  • A woman on an MRI machine talking to her doctor

    Extending Marketplace Tax Credits Would Make Coverage More Affordable for Middle-Income Adults

    Paying for health care coverage is a challenge for Americans facing rising premiums, deductibles, and copayments. The ACA's tax credits that make marketplace insurance more affordable for lower-income individuals should be extended to middle-income adults aged 50–64.

    Jul 27, 2017 The Commonwealth Fund Blog

  • Woman paying at a medical reception desk

    Ingredients for Health Care Reform

    Despite their differences, the Affordable Care Act and the current proposals to replace it take a similar approach to providing health insurance. What might some alternatives look like? And how could they provide coverage to more Americans?

    Jul 10, 2017 Fortune

  • A nurse discussing paperwork with her senior patient

    How Would the House Health Care Plan Affect People with Pre-Existing Conditions?

    The American Health Care Act would guarantee that individuals with pre-existing conditions could enroll in insurance even if they had a coverage lapse. But there is no guarantee that this coverage would be affordable, and coverage of some essential health benefits could be excluded.

    May 28, 2017 U.S. News & World Report

  • New mother resting in maternity room after childbirth

    Removing Maternity Care and Mental Health Treatment from Coverage Requirements Would Reduce Premiums, but Lead to Significant Spending Increases for Some Consumers

    The American Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act allows states to waive benefits that the ACA deemed “essential.” Dropping maternity care coverage, for example, would reduce premiums by 5 percent but increase out-of-pocket spending for new mothers.

    May 18, 2017 The Commonwealth Fund Blog

  • The federal government forms for applying for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act

    Repeal-and-Delay Would Make Budget Neutrality for ACA Replacement Difficult

    As Congress considers repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, it will need to consider how federal budget scoring can affect the fate of legislation. Depending on the ultimate cost of a replacement, finding enough savings to offset costs while maintaining budget neutrality could make it hard to pass a replacement.

    Jan 11, 2017 The Commonwealth Fund Blog

  • A group of young adults stretching in a dance class

    Insuring Younger Adults Through the ACA's Marketplaces: Options to Expand Enrollment

    Whether or not the Affordable Care Act is repealed, having young adults participate in the individual health insurance market remains critical to achieving affordable premiums for everyone.

    Dec 16, 2016 The Commonwealth Fund Blog

  • Stethoscope on an American flag

    Estimating the Impacts of the Trump and Clinton Health Plans

    Donald Trump wants to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Hillary Clinton wants to maintain and modify it. How could each proposal impact coverage, out-of-pocket costs, and the deficit?

    Sep 23, 2016

  • An elderly person's hands on a doctor's desk next to a stethoscope

    What Happens If the ACA's Tax Credits Are Replaced with Premium Support?

    As policymakers consider alternatives to reduce the federal government's financial burden from providing subsidies under the ACA, they should consider the consequences for enrollees. Existing premium-support models yield considerable savings for the federal government but could create age and income disparities in coverage.

    Nov 24, 2015 The Commonwealth Fund Blog

  • Patients waiting to see a doctor

    Insurance Enrollment Holds Steady in Advance of the 2016 Open Enrollment Period

    Since September 2013, the number of people with health insurance coverage has increased by 16.6 million. But since the second ACA open enrollment period in February 2015, the number of people with coverage has remained relatively flat. The third open enrollment period began on November 1. Whether the number of uninsured will continue to decline remains an open question.

    Nov 12, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • A senior man receives a consultation from his doctor

    Charging Older Adults Higher Premiums Could Cost Taxpayers

    Under the Affordable Care Act, older adults cannot be charged more than three times as much as 21- to 24-year-olds for the same plan. Changing this rule to 5-to-1 may not be a cost-effective way to encourage enrollment among the young and healthy.

    Sep 15, 2015 The Commonwealth Fund Blog

  • Calculator and stethoscope on a spreadsheet

    The Ramifications of Repealing the Individual Mandate

    As part of its goal of near-universal coverage, the Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to obtain insurance or pay a penalty. Repealing that requirement would significantly reduce health insurance enrollment and cause individual market premiums to rise.

    Aug 13, 2015 The Commonwealth Fund Blog

  • Supporters of the Affordable Care Act celebrate after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Obama administration, Washington, DC, June 25, 2015

    Why Obamacare Lives

    Economic reasoning took center stage in the Supreme Court's decision on Thursday to uphold the legality of the Affordable Care Act's subsidies in all states.

    Jun 26, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • Demonstrators hold signs showing the number of people they say could lose affordable health care in King v. Burwell, in front of the Supreme Court building, March 4, 2015

    What Americans Know About King v. Burwell

    An upcoming Supreme Court ruling regarding the Affordable Care Act could impact millions of Americans. Are Americans aware of the court case? And if so, what do they know about it?

    Jun 12, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • Doctor explaining diagnosis to her female patient

    Exchange Tax Credits or Employer Coverage: What's Better for Low-Income Americans?

    As the King v. Burwell case approaches, there's likely to be more discussion about potential modifications to the ACA's tax credit structure. Policymakers might consider whether there are opportunities to level the playing field for low-income workers, regardless of whether their employers offer insurance.

    Feb 12, 2015 The Morning Consult

  • A woman and two receptionists at a clinic

    How Much Are You Paying for Health Care?

    Americans devote about 17 percent of GDP to health care consumption. In 2013, U.S. GDP was $16.8 trillion, and the population was 316 million. Together, these numbers imply that Americans spent about $9,200 per person on health care. Who's paying for this?

    Jan 15, 2015 The Morning Consult

  • Doctor with a clipboard and patients in a waiting room

    The ACA's Tax Credits Keep Premiums Low for Everyone

    The ACA's tax credits currently contain several properties that stabilize premiums while providing assistance to low- and moderate-income people. As policymakers contemplate modifications to the ACA that would affect the tax credits, it will be important to consider not only how they affect those who are eligible, but also how they affect premiums for everyone else.

    Nov 10, 2014 The Morning Consult

  • A man looks over the ACA signup page on, October 2, 2013

    Happy Birthday Healthcare.Gov

    This month marks the one-year anniversary of the health insurance Marketplaces -- the online exchanges for buying and selling insurance created by the Affordable Care Act. Last year, after a near-disastrous start that included massive website failures, the Marketplaces rebounded to a surprising success.

    Oct 16, 2014 The Morning Consult

  • doctor with senior patient

    Survey Estimates Net Gain of 9.3 Million American Adults with Health Insurance

    Early survey evidence indicates that the Affordable Care Act has already led to a substantial increase in insurance coverage. Consistent with the ACA's design, this gain in insurance has come not only from new enrollment in the marketplaces, but also from new enrollment in employer coverage and Medicaid.

    Apr 8, 2014 The RAND Blog

  • People standing in line

    Who Does the Affordable Care Act Leave Behind?

    Although one of the primary objectives of the Affordable Care Act is to achieve near-universal health insurance coverage, the Congressional Budget Office projects that 30 million residents, more than 10 percent of the nonelderly population, will remain uninsured after the major provisions of the ACA take full effect.

    Mar 7, 2014 The RAND Blog

  • patients waiting to see a doctor

    First Steps on a Long Road: Three Key Findings from ACA's Early Enrollment Numbers

    The vision of the ACA was “no wrong door” and an affordable option for everyone, but it appears based on the data available so far that, in the non-Medicaid expansion states, there is a closed door.

    Feb 10, 2014 Health Affairs Blog

  • health insurance claim form, pen, calculator

    Employer-Provided Health Insurance: Why Does It Persist, and Will It Continue after 2014?

    As the ACA is implemented, policy makers should be attuned to potential inefficiencies and inequities created by a system with different regulatory and tax rules for small employers, large employers, and individual health plans. Attempts to equalize the playing field may be difficult.

    Dec 2, 2013 New England Journal of Medicine

  • U.S. President Barack Obama talks about the Affordable Care Act in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, November 14, 2013

    Four Questions on Canceled Insurance Policy Fix

    David Mastio, Forum editor at USA TODAY, asked RAND's Christine Eibner four questions about President Obama's plan to fix the problem with people getting their insurance canceled.

    Nov 15, 2013 USA Today

  • Will the Affordable Care Act Make Health Care More Affordable?

    Out-of-pocket spending on health care will decrease for both the newly insured as well as for those changing their source of insurance. These decreases will be largest for those who would otherwise be uninsured.

    Oct 1, 2013 The Health Care Blog

  •  Doctor with young woman

    Will Small Firms Self-Insure After Jan. 1, 2014?

    Because of the ACA's regulations, some smaller employers with young and healthy workers are considering avoiding the purchase of health care coverage in the regulated market, opting instead to self-insure their employees.

    Jun 17, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • A stethoscope on an American flag

    What Happens Without Individual Mandate?

    If the individual mandate were ruled unconstitutional, subsidies and the age structure of premiums should keep enough healthy people in the insurance exchanges to prevent huge spikes in premiums, write Carter C. Price and Christine Eibner.

    Mar 21, 2012 USA Today