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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: High Risk Insurance Pools Are Expensive

Pools that provide health insurance for the costliest patients would lower premiums for those at lower risk, but require a high level of public funding, according to a policy brief from the Brown School and the Institute for Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis.

[Photos: Dr. Abigail Barker (left) and Dr. Timothy McBride]

Researchers calculated the cost of a high-risk pool for those with costs greater than $60,000. That pool would save nearly $300 annually for lower risk people, but require at least $18 billion annually in funding.

“Because extremely high costs are relatively rare, the most efficient design would group all high-cost patients across states together,” wrote co-authors Dr. Abigail Barker, research assistant professor, and Dr. Timothy McBride, professor at the Brown School and co-director of the Center for Health Economics and Policy at the Institute for Public Health.

Establishing such pools is currently under discussion as a way to reduce costs for those covered by the Affordable Care Act.

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