Marion Aouad holds a PhD in Economics from UC Berkeley with a focus in Health Economics. Her work aims to understand and analyze the factors relevant to consumers' decisions for healthcare consumption. She is also interested in how health insurance reforms affect both the supply and demand side of healthcare markets and has worked with policies focused on surgical procedures.

Honors & Awards

  • NIA Training grant, National Institute on Aging (2016-2017)
  • Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation (2013-2016)
  • Best First Year Economics History Paper, Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) (2012)

Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, Princeton University (2007)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of California Berkeley (2017)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications

  • Reference pricing: The case of screening colonoscopies. Journal of health economics Aouad, M., Brown, T. T., Whaley, C. M. 2019; 65: 246?59


    We study the introduction of reference pricing to the California Public Employees' Retirement System. Reference pricing changes the relative price of using a hospital versus an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) for patients receiving a colonoscopy, leading to as good as random variation in patients' use of ASCs. We find a 10 percentage point increase in the share of patients using an ASC, leading to a $2300 to $1700 reduction in prices paid for patients who switch to ASCs. Our results suggest that the use of ASCs has a causal effect on prices paid and has no negative effect on patient health outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2019.03.002

    View details for PubMedID 31082768

  • Impact of Reference Pricing on Cost and Quality in Total Joint Arthroplasty. The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume Brodke, D. J., Guo, C., Aouad, M., Brown, T. T., Bozic, K. J. 2019


    BACKGROUND: Prices for total joint arthroplasty vary widely. Insurers have experimented with reference-based benefit designs (reference pricing) to control costs by setting a contribution limit that covers lower-priced facilities but necessitates higher out-of-pocket payments at higher-priced facilities. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of reference pricing on the cost and quality of care for total joint arthroplasty.METHODS: The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) implemented reference pricing for total joint arthroplasty in January 2011. We obtained data on 2,023 CalPERS patients who underwent total joint arthroplasty from January 2009 to December 2013 and comparison group data on 8,024 non-CalPERS patients from the same time period. Trends in 9 cost and quality-related metrics were compared between the CalPERS group and the comparison group: patient choice of a lower-priced hospital, insurer payment, consumer payment, 90-day complication rate, 90-day readmission rate, annual surgical volume of the chosen hospital, length of stay, travel distance, and rate of discharge to home. The impact of reference pricing was estimated with difference-in-differences multivariable regressions, adjusting for covariates.RESULTS: An increase of 19 percentage points (95% confidence interval [CI], 13.0 to 25.6 percentage points; p < 0.01) in the selection of lower-priced hospitals was attributable to reference pricing, with a concurrent mean savings for the insurer of $5,067 (95% CI, $2,315 to $7,819; p < 0.01) and an increase in the mean patient out-of-pocket payment of $1,991 (95% CI, $1,053 to $2,929; p < 0.01). No significant change in any quality indicator was attributable to reference pricing, with the exception of an 8% reduction (95% CI, 3.3% to 12.7% reduction; p < 0.01) in the length of stay for hip replacement.CONCLUSIONS: Reference pricing motivates patients to choose lower-priced hospitals for total joint arthroplasty, with no measurable adverse impact on quality. Reference pricing represents a viable strategy in the shift toward value-based care.

    View details for DOI 10.2106/JBJS.19.00475

    View details for PubMedID 31596807

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