Preparing for presentation on health care marketplaces

Preparing for presentation on health care marketplaces

Posted by: on March 24, 2016   |Comment (1)|Undergraduate Research

erika may imageHello again! Thanks for checking in on my research blog; I’m excited to share everything that I’ve been up to since my last post. As I mentioned before, Dr. Hackey and I recently published a piece in JAMA regarding the health insurance marketplace, and we decided that we wanted to continue with the same topic but also expand our research.

This year we had the amazing Sabrina Guilbeault (PC ’18) join our research team to help work on our next publication! As a team, the three of us have been hard at work creating and establishing a report card for state health insurance marketplaces (51 to be exact since we included Washington, D.C.). Specifically, we are calculating and developing a report card using four key measures to grade the performance of various marketplaces through the end of the second open enrollment period that concluded in March 2015.

report-cardThe project has been incredibly exciting — I love the fact that I, a student, get to be the one grading others since I am so used to being on the receiving end for schoolwork! My specific role for our research was to serve as data analyst. I really enjoy working with Excel spreadsheets, figuring out calculations by manipulating data with formulas, making graphs and charts, etc.

We submitted our application and grant request for this research project early last summer. Since then, we’ve spent countless hours analyzing data, comparing data, writing drafts, and going through multiple stages of review with our supervisors at The Collaborative. Although the process has been long and arduous, I am happy to say that we have finalized our paper and have submitted it to The Collaborative!

Next on our plates will be to meet with the graphic design group to figure out how we want our graphs, tables, and charts displayed within our work. I am very excited and anxious to see what the graphics will look like — I have a feeling that it will add a lot of visual appeal to our paper and allow readers to better understand our analysis. Most importantly, Dr. Hackey, Sabrina, and I have been getting organized for the public policy speaker series event held on April 1. At this event, our research team, along with two other research teams, will be presenting our work to the executive board at The Collaborative and other prominent Rhode Island public policy figures. I am beyond nervous for this event — I’ve never been the best at public speaking — but I know that it will all go smoothly!

Wish us luck!

Peace, love & health policy,
Erika May ’16

Hello again! Thanks for checking in on my research blog; I’m excited to share everything that I’ve been up to... MORE

Grading Healthcare Marketplaces

Posted by: on February 26, 2016   |Comments (0)|Undergraduate Research

erika may imageHello all!

Welcome to my new student research blog! My name is Erika May, and I’m a senior here at Providence College, which means I will sadly have to say goodbye to my home-away-from-home in just a few short months. I was born and raised in the great state of New Jersey where I enjoyed many summers spent “down the shore” taking endless road trips listening to Bruce Springsteen.

I entered PC undeclared, but after taking a truly fascinating and inspiring course in the summer following my freshman year, “HPM101,” with Dr. Hackey, I quickly knew that I wanted to declare Health Policy and Management (HPM) as my major. The major itself takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying the relationship between health and society where professors offer a variety of courses for students who will lead in the development of healthier communities through professional practice, research, and service. In addition, I am an art history minor, simply because I have a passion for the arts and enjoy learning as much as I can about the subject matter.

Following the completion of the HPM course I just mentioned, Dr. Hackey reached out to me and offered me a research assistant position within the HPM department. I was, still am, and will continue to be incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Hackey — a brilliant, passionate professor who truly loves doing what he does. I started working on some small projects here and there, but it was not until the fall of my junior year when research became a huge part of my academic career. Dr. Hackey and I were in the middle of working on an independent study when we started chatting about the current states’ marketplace enrollment data with the newly implemented Affordable Care Act (ACA). State marketplaces are resources where individuals, families, and small businesses can learn about their health coverage options; compare health insurance plans based on costs, benefits, and other important features; choose a plan; and enroll in coverage. The marketplace also provides information on programs that help people with low to moderate income and resources to pay for coverage. I began to conduct research and input data into Excel spreadsheets on all three types of the health insurance marketplaces (SBMs, FFMs, SPMs) in all 50 states, including Washington, D.C., in the years 2014-2015. After many months of analysis and data calculations, Dr. Hackey and I co-authored a paper titled, “Performance of Health Insurance Marketplaces,” which was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in July 2015.

My research this semester builds off my previous publication. Over the summer, Dr. Hackey, Sabrina Guilbeault, and I received exciting news that we would be offered a grant from The Collaborative to continue building off our previous research. During the past four months, we have been hard at work creating and establishing a report card for state health insurance marketplaces. Yes, you heard me correctly; we will be giving each state a grade (A-F) along with a GPA (4.00-0.00) based on four key measures to compare the performance of all 51 marketplaces (50 states plus the District of Columbia) at the end of the second enrollment period in March 2015. We are hoping that our results will offer insights into how well the health insurance marketplaces fulfilled the goals established by the ACA. Stay tuned to see our progress and to learn more!

Peace, love & health policy,

                                                                  Erika May

Hello all! Welcome to my new student research blog! My name is Erika May, and I’m a senior here at... MORE

A Look Back: Research of Healthcare was a Highlight

Posted by: on May 13, 2015   |Comments (0)|Undergraduate Research

Hi! I completed my independent study for the semester just now, but let me catch you up on what that entailed! With the help of Sabrina Guilbeault ’18, I conducted my research experiment in March and April. We each called 110 primary care practices in Rhode Island, posing as patients with both HealthSource RI coverage and Employer-Based coverage to see when we could get the soonest appoiACA-reportMNntments. We did not actually make these appointments, but came up with a last minute out so as not to disrupt their care delivery!

We found that there was not a large discrepancy between HealthSource RI and Employer-Based Coverage recipients getting access to care. However, we did find that less than 40% of the surveyed practices were accepting new patients all together.  Most notably, we also encountered issues between the providers and insurance company’s communication. For example, the insurance company would list disconnected numbers for the providers in their directory–or worse, had issues with whether or not the provider was in the insurance’s network. Overall, there were considerable access barriers in Rhode Island, which were consistent with issues across the nation.

As for the teaching and further research pieces, Dr. Hackey, Dr. O, and I are going to work on those over the summer. I am also going to submit my independent study for publication review before I start grad school in the fall! Thanks for the research opportunities, PC!  They were definitely highlights of my undergrad career!


Hi! I completed my independent study for the semester just now, but let me catch you up on what that... MORE