Date: 26 Feb 2009

Which preferred providers are really preferred? Effectiveness of insurers’ channeling incentives on pharmacy choice

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Efficient contracting of health care requires effective consumer channeling. Little is known about the effectiveness of channeling strategies. We study channeling incentives on pharmacy choice using a large scale discrete choice experiment. Financial incentives prove to be effective. Positive financial incentives are less effective than negative financial incentives. Channeling through qualitative incentives also leads to a significant impact on provider choice. While incentives help to channel, a strong status quo bias needs to be overcome before consumers change pharmacies. Focusing on consumers who are forced to choose a new pharmacy seems to be the most effective strategy.