The Urban Institute's Health Microsimulation Capabilities

Research Report

The Urban Institute's Health Microsimulation Capabilities

July 29, 2010

Abstract

The Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model (HIPSM) is a detailed microsimulation model of the health care system. It estimates the cost and coverage effects of proposed health care policy options and is designed for quick-turn around analysis of policy proposals—from novel health insurance offerings and strategies for increasing affordability to state-specific-proposals. This document provides an overview of HIPSM, describes the type of policies it can examine and studies that have used the model, and point to potential future studies that the model makes possible, including analyses of options left open to states after health reform.

Overview

Introduction

The Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model (HIPSM) is a detailed microsimulation model of the health care system. It estimates the cost and coverage effects of proposed health care policy options. HIPSM is designed for quick-turn around analysis of policy proposals. It can be rapidly adapted to analyze a wide variety of new scenarios—from novel health insurance offerings and strategies for increasing affordability to state-specific proposals—and can describe the effects of policy options at a number of points in time.

HIPSM was developed by researchers in the Health Policy Center and Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization. Funders of HIPSM’s development include the Stoneman Family Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Urban Institute. The Health Policy Center has a long history of health insurance simulation work, including extensive experience working with state and national policymakers to examine the impact, costs, and financing of alternative strategies to cover the uninsured. The HIPSM research team is unmatched in depth and breadth, and includes innovative researchers, economists, mathematicians, and other experienced policy experts.

Our most notable early work in health reform simulation, using a predecessor to the HIPSM model, provided a roadmap for the design of the landmark 2006 health care reform legislation in Massachusetts. That research garnered the prestigious Health Services Research Impact Award in 2007. More recently, the new HIPSM model has been used to analyze reform options in New York and national reform options proposed in Congress. These analyses have been disseminated in published research reports, policy briefs designed for policy-makers in Congress, the media, and stakeholders. The model was also used for providing technical assistance to officials of the Obama administration. Currently, we are using HIPSM to simulate the distributional effects at the national level of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Research Area: 

Centers

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