Measuring Consumer Perceptions of Quality Differences Among Competing Health Benefit Plans

Published in: Journal of Health Economics, v. 21, no. 1, Jan. 2002, p. 1-17

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2002

by Katherine M. Harris, Jennifer Schultz, Roger D. Feldman

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In this paper, the authors combine revealed preference and survey data on attribute importance to estimate parameters that represent average perceived differences in the quality and convenience of competing health benefit plans. The authors find that consumers do not perceive differences in provider quality across options, though they do perceive differences related to waiting time and access to specialists. In order to validate our approach, they estimate parameters representing perceived premiums and compare the estimates to actual premium differences. The results suggest that consumers correctly perceive the high-premium option to cost more than the low-premium option. These results increase our confidence in the use of stated importance data to identify and interpret parameters measuring the effect of otherwise unobservable attributes of choice alternatives.

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