I am a Postdoctoral Health Economics Fellow at Stanford University (S-SPIRE).
My areas of research interest include Health Economics, Applied Econometrics, Labor Economics, and Economic Demography. My work aims to understand and analyze the factors relevant to consumers' decisions on health care consumption. I am also interested in how health insurance reforms affect both the supply and demand side of health care markets.
1) Are Physicians Sensitive to Changes in Patients' Demands?: Evidence from a Health-Insurance Reform
This study analyzes how physicians respond to changes in patients' demand for health care. I find that certain physicians are sensitive to changes in patient demand and are amenable to patients’ financial circumstance when making decisions. I determine this by studying a health insurance reform that changes patients' relative financial responsibilities for a medical service that can be received at two locations. Importantly, physicians' reimbursement is not affected by the reform and is similar across the two locations. Focusing on physicians observed before and after the reform, physicians who previously work across the two locations are increasingly observed working at the location that is now cheaper for patients. Furthermore, these physicians spend a greater share of their work days at the now cheaper setting. This is one of the first studies to show that physicians are sensitive to changes in patient demand and are amenable to the financial circumstances of patients. It also demonstrates that physicians' willingness to accommodate these changes may contribute to the success of certain demand-side health insurance reforms.
2) Reference Pricing - The Case of Screening Colonoscopies (*Revise and Resubmit at Journal of Health Economics)
In this analysis, we study the introduction of reference pricing to the California Public Employees' Retirement System. Reference pricing changes the relative price of using a hospital versus an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) for patients receiving a colonoscopy, leading to as good as random variation in patients’ use of ASCs. We find a 10 percentage point increase in the share of patients using an ASC, leading to a $2300 to $1700 reduction in total spending for patients who switch to ASCs. Our results suggest that the use of ASCs has a causal effect on spending and no negative effect on patient health outcomes.
3) Understanding the Distributional Impacts of Health Insurance Reforms: Evidence from a Consumer-Cost Sharing Program
We examine the heterogeneous effects of a health insurance reform on the distribution of spending for the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS). The reform changes the relative prices faced by CalPERS members between higher-priced and lower-priced healthcare providers. Using medical claims data for CalPERS and an unaffected control group, we estimate the quantile treatment effects of the program. We find large, negative effects at higher quantiles of the spending distribution, with smaller effects at lower quantiles, suggesting a relative right-tail reduction. These effects are not captured by mean estimates but have important policy implications.
Please email me for a copy of papers.
Ph.D., Economics, University of California Berkeley - May 2017
B.A., Economics, Princeton University (with honors)
Download CV: CV_Aouad