Test of Consequence Information on Insurance Choices

Last registered on September 14, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Test of Consequence Information on Insurance Choices
Initial registration date
September 13, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
September 14, 2021, 4:23 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of California, San Diego

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
AsPredicted.org Pre-registration Plan 5372
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
This study investigates the impact of "consequence graphs" on decisions about insurance plans. Participants in our experiments are presented with menus of health insurance options and randomized into different information treatments. In the baseline treatment, participants see "feature-based" information about options, which describe contract features such as premiums, deductibles, and copays. In our primary experimental treatment, participants either or in addition see a "consequence graph", which is a visual representation of the distribution of total financial consequences the individual could expect to have with a give plan. In some of our trials there is a third experimentally assigned treatment condition which combines feature-based information with an expected-spending projection (i.e., projected average) but not the full distribution from the consequence graph. For some of the menus there are dominant options and our primary outcome metric is the share choosing the dominant option under different information displays. In some menus there is no dominant option and we instead investigate simply whether the information treatments lead to different distributions of choices.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Samek, Anya and Justin Sydnor. 2021. "Test of Consequence Information on Insurance Choices." AEA RCT Registry. September 14. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8229-1.0
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Choice of dominated health insurance option
Choice of high deductible vs. low deductible health insurance option
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This study was conducted with two separate but related experiments.

Experiment 1:
Was conducted at the BRITE Lab at the University of Wisconsin, Madison recruiting a largely university student population.
Subjects choose a preferred health insurance plan in each of 4 menus of options. This set of choices was repeated twice, once under each of our two information treatments, with the order randomized. This randomization allows us to conduct both between-subjects comparisons, by comparing the decisions made under the first information treatment assignment, and within subject analysis comparing across the two sets of decisions.
They were incentivized for their choice by having one of their decisions randomly selected for payment. Payment was based on both a random draw of possible medical bills and the health plan the individual selected.
There were two information treatments: a) feature-based menu (control) and b) consequence-graph display (treatment).
Participants also completed an incentivized question testing their ability to do an insurance calculation and an Eckle-Grossman risk-aversion elicitation.

Experiment 2:
The second experiment was a hypothetical-choice survey experiment conducted with the Understanding America Study panel. This portion of the experiment was pre-registered at AsPredicted.org under pre-registration plan #5372, which can be accessed at https://aspredicted.org/blind.php?x=m9ni37
For this study subjects answered a few questions about their health risks that allowed us to place them into one of 50 health-risk groups. We then randomly assigned subjects to one of three information-treatment groups: a) feature-based table display only (control), b) feature-based table plus consequence graph (primary treatment), c) feature-based table plus expected-spending projection (secondary treatment).
Subjects made choices between a lower-deductible and higher-deductible health plan option in 10 separate menus (i.e., pairs) of options.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Computerized randomization within the survey/online experiment software.
Randomization Unit
Individual level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
201 individuals (lab experiment) + 692 individuals (UAS survey) = 893 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
201 individuals (lab experiment) + 692 individuals (UAS survey) = 893 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Lab study: 110 received feature-table for their first display and 91 received the graphical display for their first display.
UAS study: 246 Received the feature-table only, 225 received the feature table plus consequence graph, 221 received the feature table plus expected spending projection.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Study has received IRB approval. Details not available.
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Pre-analysis plan for UAS study on Impact of Consequence Information

MD5: 1c591a949ae85e3c92ccfffab5d29d5e

SHA1: 07bc3940103cdc5c32aa57ec6e19200ce1bd3658

Uploaded At: September 13, 2021


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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials