I’m reading this Working Paper by Jon Gruber and Robin McKnight, and am baffled by one of their findings. First, the context:
There is one important outcome that is the current focus of much debate over limited network plans, however: patient access to providers as proxied by distance traveled.
A major concern raised about limited network plans is that it will lead patients to have to travel much further to see their providers. We can address this concern with our data by examining the distance between patients and the providers they do see when they join limited network plans. To do so, we use the distance between the centroid of patient and provider zip codes in our data, for every provider‐patient pair that we observe.
Then they go on to write: “We find that those patients who continue to see their old providers are traveling shorter distances to do so, but that those patients who see new providers are traveling farther” (p. 24).
I believe if Bill O’Reilly were here, he’d say, “You can’t explain that.” Anyone?
(In case it’s not clear: How can it be possible that people who continued to see the same provider as they did before the policy change went into effect, now drive a shorter distance to their provider?)