Factors Affecting the Choice between Prepaid Group Practice and Alternative Insurance Programs

This paper examines the basis for the selection of prepaid group practice in a dual-choice situation, and the social, attitudinal, and health characteristics of populations choosing prepaid programs in contrast to other plans. When asked in an open-ended way why they made the decisions they did, those selecting prepaid group practice most frequently referred to the more comprehensive coverage provided and to the fact that at the time of choice they lacked a continuing or adequate relationship with a physician. Enrollees in the prepaid program were better educated and, contrary to previous research, more likely to be unmarried. There was little evidence that enrollees in the prepaid plan brought with them distinctive kinds of attitudes and orientations toward illness and medical care. Enrollees in the prepaid program were also comparable to those retaining an alternative health insurance option on a number of indicators of health status. However, prepaid practice enrollees tended to report more chronic conditions than persons who declined to enroll in the prepaid program. Although the overrepresentation of persons with chronic illnesses is not large, data drawn from a related study suggests that persons with several chronic conditions tend to be heavy users of medical services.

Author(s): Richard Tessler; David Mechanic

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Volume 53, Issue 2 (pages 149–172)
Published in 1975