Posted 4.9.07

The Department of Economics at Bowling Green State University held its fifth Undergraduate Research Contest and Conference on March 31. William Hedberg, a senior economics major at Case, was awarded first place in the microeconomics division of the contest for his paper "The Distribution of Health Care Spending and its Implications for High-Deductible Health Insurance." The prize includes a cash award.

The paper, originally written as Hedberg's economics honors thesis, estimated the potential medical cost savings that could result from widespread adoption of high-deductible health insurance policies. Analyzing data in the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), Hedberg estimated that the savings would amount to about 3 percent of total health care expenditures, a figure smaller than suggested by previous analyses. Moreover, at least 20 percent of the savings was expected to occur from reduced medical consumption by persons with chronic illnesses, a group for whom reductions in current medical expenditures often translate into larger future costs.

This is the second successful competition in a row for Case economics students. David Ziegler took second place in the microeconomics division last year for his paper investigating the impact of public "report cards" on the quality of nursing homes in Ohio.

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