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The impact of Dual Eligible Special Need Plan regulations on healthcare utilization.

  • Author(s): Narain, Kimberly Danae Cauley;
  • Harwood, Jessica;
  • Mangione, Carol;
  • Duru, O Kenrik;
  • Ettner, Susan
  • et al.

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To determine if requiring Dual Eligible Special Need Plans (D-SNPs) to receive approval from the National Committee of Quality Assurance and contract with state Medicaid agencies impacts healthcare utilization.


We use a Multiple Interrupted Time Series to examine the association of D-SNP regulations with dichotomized measures of emergency room (ER) and hospital utilization. Our treatment group is elderly D-SNP enrollees. Our comparison group is near-elderly (ages 60-64) beneficiaries enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care plans (N = 360,405). We use segmented regression models to estimate changes in the time-trend and slope of the outcomes associated with D-SNP regulations, during the post-implementation (2012-2015) period, relative to the pre-implementation (2010-2011) period. Models include a treatment-status indicator, a monthly time-trend, indicators and splines for the post-period and the interactions between these variables. We conduct the following sensitivity analyses: (1) Re-estimating models stratified by state (2) Estimating models including interactions of D-SNP implementation variables with comorbidity count to assess for differential D-SNP regulation effects across comorbidity level. (3) Re-estimating the models stratifying by race/ethnicity and (4) Including a transition period (2012-2013) in the model.


We do not find any statistically significant changes in ER or hospital utilization associated with D-SNP regulation implementation in the broad D-SNP population or among specific racial/ethnic groups; however, we do find a reduction in hospitalizations associated with D-SNP regulations in New Jersey (DD level = - 3.37%; p = 0.02)/(DD slope = - 0.23%; p = 0.01) and among individuals with higher, relative to lower levels of co-morbidity (DDD slope = - 0.06%; p = 0.01).


These findings suggest that the impact of D-SNP regulations varies by state. Additionally, D-SNP regulations may be particularly effective in reducing hospital utilization among beneficiaries with high levels of co-morbidity.

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