Active Versus Passive Choice: Evidence from a Public Health Care Redesign

Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 30(2): 191-202

Posted: 8 Aug 2012

See all articles by Michael Walsh

Michael Walsh

West Virginia University - College of Business & Economics

Paula Fitzgerald

West Virginia University - College of Business & Economics

Tami Gurley-Calvez

University of Kansas Medical Center

Adam Pellillo

La Salle University

Date Written: November 1, 2011

Abstract

This research examines how people choose among different public health insurance plans and assesses the factors that influence their choice. The authors explore two types of choice: active choice, in which consumers explicitly choose a plan, and passive/no choice, in which consumers take no action in choosing their plan. Using administrative and survey data for a sample of Medicaid recipients from a state that recently redesigned its Medicaid program, the authors identify what drives consumers’ choices using constructs loosely framed by classic motivation, opportunity, and ability models. The results show that when consumers engage in active decision making, there are few barriers to selecting a wellness-based health plan with greater prescription coverage. In addition, the findings suggest that it is important for informed people, such as health care professionals, to be involved in plan choice. Unexpectedly, Medicaid recipients who rely on word-of-mouth communication tend to avoid active choice.

Keywords: consumer behavior, loyalty, word of mouth, Medicaid redesign, health care, consumer choice

Suggested Citation

Walsh, Michael and Fitzgerald, Paula and Gurley-Calvez, Tami and Pellillo, Adam, Active Versus Passive Choice: Evidence from a Public Health Care Redesign (November 1, 2011). Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 30(2): 191-202, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2125945

Michael Walsh (Contact Author)

West Virginia University - College of Business & Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6025
Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

Paula Fitzgerald

West Virginia University - College of Business & Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6025
Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

Tami Gurley-Calvez

University of Kansas Medical Center ( email )

1415
Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045
United States

Adam Pellillo

La Salle University

United States

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