Thomas H. Rice Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor
Department of Health Services
University of California, Los Angeles
Email: Discipline: Economics, Health Services Research Expertise: Insurance, Consumerism, Health Economics

Investigator Award
Manacled Competition: Limiting Health Insurance Choices
Award Year: 2005 With all the new options now available to Medicare recipients, both seniors and policymakers are asking a relatively simple question: is "more" the same as "better"? Are the many choices producing better health care decisions, or do they so confound seniors that they are more likely to make bad decisions that hurt their quality of care? Co-investigators Thomas H. Rice, Ph.D. and Yaniv Hanoch, Ph.D. are studying the decision process employed by the elderly as they grapple with the multitude of options available under the new Medicare prescription drug benefit and managed care plans. Manacled Competition: Limiting Health Insurance Choices for the Elderly is an effort to understand whether more choice will boost enrollment in Medicare drug plans and managed care, or whether better choices are made when there are fewer options available. Drs. Rice and Hanoch consider how age-related cognitive changes, number of choices, and different types of information affect decision-making. Their work should guide efforts aimed at helping seniors make better use of their coverage options under Medicare.


Thomas Rice is a distinguished professor in the department of health services in the UCLA School of Public Health. He served as department chair from 1996-2000 and 2003-4. He served as Vice Chancellor, Academic Personnel for the UCLA campus from 2006-11. Dr. Rice received his doctorate in economics at the University of California at Berkeley in 1982. Prior to joining the faculty at UCLA in 1991, he was a faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health. His areas of interest include health insurance, cost containment, Medicare, and the role of competition and regulation in health care markets. From 1994 to 2000, Dr. Rice served as the editor of the journal, Medical Care Research and Review. The second edition of his book, The Economics of Health Reconsidered, was published by Health Administration Press in 2003. He is a past chair of the board of directors of AcademyHealth, which represents the profession of health services research in the U.S. Dr. Rice was chair of the 2003 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting. Previously he was a recipient of its Young Investigator Award (1988) and Article-of-the-Year Award (1998).