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VOLUME 54 | NUMBER 4 | AUGUST 2019


Do health insurance and hospital market concentration influence hospital patients experience of care?

Objective: To examine the effects of insurance and hospital market concentration on hospital patients’ experience of care, as hospitals may compete on quality for favorable insurance contracts.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Secondary data for 20082015 on patient experience from Hospital Compare's patient survey data, hospital characteristics from the American Hospital Association (AHA) Annual Survey, and insurance market characteristics from HealthLeadersInterStudy.

Study Design: Hospital/yearlevel regressions predict each hospital's patient experience measure as a function of insurance and hospital market concentration and hospital fixed effects. The model is identified by longitudinal variation in insurance and hospital concentration.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: Hospital/yearlevel data from Hospital Compare and the AHA merged by market/year to insurance and hospital concentration measures.

Principal Findings: Changes in patient satisfaction are positively associated with increases in insurance concentration and negatively associated with increases in hospital concentration. Moving from a market with 20th percentile insurance concentration and 80th percentile hospital concentration to a market with 80th percentile insurance concentration and 20th percentile hospital concentration increases the share of patients that rated the hospital highly from 66.9 percent (95% CI: 66.567.2 percent) to 67.9 percent (95% CI: 67.568.3 percent) and the share of patients that definitely recommend the hospital from 69.7 percent (95% CI: 69.470.0 percent) to 70.8 percent (95% CI: 70.571.2 percent). The relationship for insurance concentration is stronger in more concentrated hospital markets, while the relationship for hospital concentration is stronger in less concentrated hospital markets.

Conclusions: These findings add to the evidence on the harms of hospital consolidation but suggest that insurer consolidation may improve patient experience.

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