Lucas Halvorson

Lucas Halvorson, Undergraduate student, Economics

Predicts health costs

• Hometown: Northfield, Minnesota
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Steven Stong, Lecturer, Economics
• What is your degree program and expected graduation date? BBA Economics, May 2020
• Please describe your research: For my honors thesis in Economics I am analyzing the economic implications of community health insurance ratemaking policies on urban and rural populations across Iowa. Ratemaking policy is what determines the different characteristics an insurance provider is allowed to calculate your premium fee on, which is critical in making care accessible for different populations. The ultimate goal of my work is to identify the different adverse health and economic outcomes of current ratemaking policy in order to provide recommendations to make healthcare and wellcare more affordable and accessible for all Iowans.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? This research is important as it can help inform legislators of instances where different demographic populations in Iowa are disadvantaged simply by where they live, and how these circumstances can be detrimental to the health of low-income populations and individuals with chronic conditions and high costs of care. In this, the objective of my work is to identify solutions that can generate a ratemaking structure which mitigates the negative effects to rural care outcomes and their ability to access quality care that is present under the current community ratemaking structure. In identifying these factors, I hope to present a structure which improves the accessibility and affordability of care for urban and rural populations.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I began participating in research during the first semester of my second year at the University. I started in the Political Science department looking at the developmental effects of Environmental Tourism in rural China and then began my current project during my third year.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Being involved in research at the University has provided me the opportunity to explore and specialize in specific interests within my area of study. In this, it has helped me develop creative solutions that I can apply in coursework and professional experiences.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I hope to work for a year or two in the insurance technology space and then would like to go to graduate school to complete a Master of Health Administration degree. Ultimately, I would like to work in health services management with the goal of improving patient experiences from an operational and financial perspective.

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