Anthony T. Lo Sasso, PhD, Visiting Fellow, is Professor in the Health Policy and Administration Division at the School of Public Health and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also serves as the director of the UIC Center for Employee Health Studies and serves as the executive director of the American Society of Health Economists.
He has been engaged to study opioid abuse as lead on the Sedgwick Institute-J.D. Power collaboration to at least initially identify how claim professionals can help mitigate the opioid abuse problem in their day to day roles handling occupational and non-occupational claims. Dr. Lo Sasso is also engaged separately in studying companies in Texas that switched from statutory worker’s compensation to the Non-subscription alternative, today only available in Texas.
Dr. Lo Sasso is an economist whose research spans several dimensions of health and labor economics, health policy, and health services and outcomes research. He is keenly interested in how government policies affect private sector decisions. After receiving an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) funded K02 Independent Scientist Award entitled “Workplace Health Benefits and Employee Health,” Dr. Lo Sasso explored the impact of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program on insurance among children and the extent to which public coverage may have “crowded out” private coverage of children; this research received AcademyHealth’s Article of the Year award in 2005. He has also examined how community rating provisions in state health insurance markets affect health insurance coverage, a topic of considerable importance given the prominence of pre-existing condition coverage in the Affordable Care Act.
An area of particular interest for Dr. Lo Sasso is the effects of health insurance benefit design on health care utilization and health outcomes. This work includes a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funded study to examine the impact of an expansion of mental health benefits on cost and quality of care at a large manufacturing firm, ongoing work examining the effects of high deductible health insurance on health care use, and a recently completed NIH-funded study examining the effects of corporate wellness programs on use of preventive services and health outcomes. Additionally, Dr. Lo Sasso serves as principal investigator on a grant from AHRQ to study “narrow network” health insurance plans. Health insurers are increasingly offering health plans with fewer in-network providers than in the very recent past. Given the new focus on narrow networks as a tool to reduce costs, it is imperative to understand how network design is affecting the provision of health care. For example, eliminating high cost providers from the network might generate substantial savings. Conversely, if access and quality are lower in narrow network plans, then any cost savings may prove illusory. Dr. Lo Sasso and his colleagues are presently examining the impact of narrow network plans on the dimensions of access, cost, and quality.
With training in labor and health economics and extensive experience studying the effects of insurance in both the private and public sectors, Dr. Lo Sasso is a nationally recognized leader in the field. Tony was appointed to the visiting fellow position in 2017.