Kranker, K. (2016). Effects of Medicaid disease management programs on medical expenditures: Evidence from a natural experiment in Georgia. Journal of Health Economics, 46, 52–69.
In recent decades, most states’ Medicaid programs have introduced disease management programs for chronically ill beneficiaries. Interventions assist beneficiaries and their health care providers to appropriately manage chronic health condition(s) according to established clinical guidelines. Cost containment has been a key justification for the creation of these programs despite mixed evidence they actually save money. This study evaluates the effects of a disease management program in Georgia by exploiting a natural experiment that delayed the introduction of high-intensity services for several thousand beneficiaries. Expenditures for medical claims decreased an average of $89 per person per month for the high- and moderate-risk groups, but those savings were not large enough to offset the total costs of the program. Impacts varied by the intensity of interventions, over time, and across disease groups. Heterogeneous treatment effect analysis indicates that decreases in medical expenditures were largest at the most expensive tail of the distribution.