Using Behavioral Economics to Inform the Integration of Human Services and Health Programs under the Affordable Care Act . Research findings


For this first operational context, we focus on the behavioral literature involving many people’s aversion to the completion of paperwork. This can take the form of procrastination or failing to submit required forms. As a result, whatever arrangement goes into effect by default—that is, in the absence of consumer action—winds up being widely used, whether or not it accords with consumers’ underlying preferences.

Here, we present real-world examples in four program or service contexts: enrollment in retirement savings plans, enrollment into health coverage based on SNAP data, the impact of opt-in and opt-out rules for organ donation, and the use of tax preparers and community-based organizations to eliminate paperwork completion requirements. These examples suggest that, whether because of inertia, procrastination, paperwork avoidance, a tendency to over-value short-term consequences and under-value long-term effects,30 or discomfort with facing confusing or difficult choices,31 many people tend to be greatly influenced in their program participation decisions by the amount of paperwork they must complete.

View full report


"rpt_BehavioralEconomics.pdf" (pdf, 805.46Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®