Gail Summers

Gail Summers

Professor of Economics and
Director of Training at the Institute of Gerontology

313 664-2622

Room 2021 FAB (Economics Department), and


Room 225 Knapp Building (Institute of Gerontology)

Gail Summers

225 Knapp

Gail Jensen (Summers) is a Professor of Economics and the Director of Training at Wayne State's Institute of Gerontology.  As a health economist and gerontologist, her current research interests include the evaluation of health system reforms, the determinants of healthcare disparities, the effects of Medicare payment generosity on beneficiaries' access to care and satisfaction with care, and the economics of health insurance. She has published more than 100 scholarly works over the years, primarily peer-reviewed journal articles.

In 2007 the Michigan Public Health Institute honored Professor Jensen for "outstanding service and devotion to public health." In 2011 the Board of Governors of Wayne State Univeristy awarded her a Distinguished Faculty Fellowship, recognizing that "her achievements and current activities in scholarship and research are of an exceptional caliber and continue to hold national distinction."

Findings from Professor Jensen's studies of employer-sponsored health insurance have been used by president Bill Clinton and president George W. Bush, the U.S. Senate, the General Accounting Office, the Secretary of Labor, the Small Business Administration, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and other policy-shaping bodies. Her research on health insurance and on how care is produced in hospitals has been discussed in more than 20 books, including five major textbooks in health economics, and some of her published papers appear on the syllabus of graduate-level courses in health economic being taught across the U.S. In 1995 Professor Jensen was named a Senior Fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) in Dallas, TX, primarily for her work on the economics of insurance regulation, and in 1999 she was named a Fellow of the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) in Washington, DC.

Professor Jensen earned her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota in 1986, and before coming to Wayne State in 1989 she held positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the American Hospital Association, and Abt Associates, Inc.

Research Focus

Dr. Jensen is currently collaborating with Dr. Wassim Tarraf at IOG to evaluate some of the early effects of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, specifically whether its mandated insurance benefits for coverage of recommended preventive services under Medicare and under private health plans have improved rates of preventive service utilization or reduced racial and ethnic disparities in rates of utilization of these services. This research is supported by a grant:

"Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Preventive Care Use and Disparities in Use" Funded by the Institute of Poulation Studies, Health Assessment, Administration, Services and Economics (INPHAASE) (an inter-organizational institute between Wayne State University and Henry Ford Health System), $69,000, September 2014 - February 2016. Principal Investigator: Wassim Tarraf, Co-Principal Investigator: Gail Jensen Summers.

She has also recently investigated the causes and consequences of cost-related non-adherence to prescribed medications among older adults, including how cost-related non-adherence affects an individual's health over the long run and its financial consequences. This research was supported by two grants:

"Drug Insurance, Medication Adherence, and Subsequent Outcomes Among Seniors," Funded as an R01 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, DHHS, $370,003, April 2009 - March 2012. Principal Investigator: Gail Jensen Summers, Co-Principal Investigator: Xiao Xu (Yale University).

"Retrospective Analysis of Pre-Medicare Aged Patients (50-59) with Chronic Disease to Evaluate the Health and Economic Costs of Medication Non-Adherence," Funded by the Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation, $124,704, November 2009 - October 2011. Principal Investigator: Gail Jensen Summers, Co-Principal Investigator: Yong Li (Competitive Health Analytics, Humana).

Previously her research has been sponsored by the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the Agency for Health Care Research and Policy, the Health Care Financing Administration, and other organizations, resulting in over $1,500,000 in funded research as a Principal Investigator.

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

Health economics, health services research, health policy, and health insurance

Selected publications

Selected Publications (2005-present):

NB Ferdows, GA Jensen, and W Tarraf, "Healthy Aging after Age 65: A Life Span Health Produciton Function Approach," Research on Aging, (now available in "early view" on the journal's website).

BP Ng, GA Jensen, and H Fritz, "Effects of Medicare Coverage of a "Welcome to Medicare Visit on Use of Preventive Services among New Medicare Enrollees," Journal of Aging Research, 2017, Article ID 2074810, 9 pages,

W Tarraf, GA Jensen and HM Gonzales, "Patient Centered Medical Home Care among Near-Old and Older Racial/Ethnic Minorities in the U.S.: Findings from the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey," Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 2016, 10 pages, DOI 10.1007/s10903-016-0491-2.

BP Ng and GA Jensen, "Health Shocks and Initiation of Use of Preventive Services among Older Adults," Journal of Applied Gerontology, 2016, 25 pages, DOI: 10.1177/0733464816657474. 

GA Jensen and X Xu, "Prescription Drug Insurance and Cost-Related Medication Nonadherence among Medicare Seniors: Findings from Two National Surveys," Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, 2016, 7(1): 11-21.

W Tarraf, GA Jensen, and HM Gonzales, "Impact of Medicare Age Eligibility on Health Spending among US and Foreign-Born Adults," Health Services Research, 2016, 51(3): 846-871.

J Hu, GA Jensen, D Nerenz, and W Tarraf, "Medicare's Annual Welness Visit in a Large Healthcare Organization: Who is Using It?" Annals of Internal Medicine, 2015, 163(7): 567-568.

GA Jensen, RG Salloum, J Hu, NB Ferdows, and W Tarraf, "A Slow Start: Use of Preventive Services among Seniors Following the Affordable Care Act's Enhancement of Medicare Benefits in the U.S.," Preventive Medicine, 2015, 76(7): 37-42.

E Mahmoudi, GA Jensen and W Tarraf, "Effects of Medicare Part D on Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Hospital Utilization among Seniors," Journal of Aging and Health, 2015, 27(5): 797-826.

GA Jensen and Y Li, "Effects of Cost-Related Medication Nonadherence on Financial Health and Retirement Decisions among Adults in Late Midlife," Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, 2014, 5(4): 205-213.

CS Brunt and GA Jensen, "Payment Generosity and Physician Acceptance of Medicare and Medicaid Patients," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, 2014, 14(4): 289-310.

RG Salloum, R Kohler, GA Jensen, S Sheridan, W Carpenter, and AK Biddle, "U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations and Cancer Screening among Female Medicare Beneficiaries," Journal of Women's Health, 2014, 23(3): 211-217.

CS Brunt and GA Jensen, "Pricing Distortions in Medicare's Physician Fee Schedule and Patient Satisfaction with Care Quality and Access," Health Economics, 2014, 23(7): 761-775.

E Mahmoudi and GA Jensen, "Has Medicare Part D Reduced Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Prescription Drug Use and Spending?" Health Services Research, 2014, 49(2): 502-525.

CS Brunt and GA Jensen, "Medicare Payment Generosity and Access to Care," Journal of Regulatory Economics, 2013, 44(2): 215-236.

E Mahmoudi and GA Jensen, "Exploring Disparities in Access to Physician Services among Older Adults: 2000 - 2007," Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 2013, 61(8): 128-138.

RG Salloum, GA Jensen, and AK Biddle, "The 'Welcome to Medicare' Visit: A Missed Opportunity for Cancer Screening among Women?" Journal of Women's Health, 2013, 22(1): 19-25.

RG Salloum, TJ Smith, GA Jensen, and JE Lafata, "Survival Among Non-Small Lung Cancer Patients with Poor Performance Status after First Line Chemotherapy," Lung Cancer, 2012, 77(3): 545-549.

GA Jensen and Y Li, "Long Run Health Effects of Cost-Related Nonadherence to Prescribed Medications among Adults in Late Midlife," Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, 2012, 3(2): 85-93.

 Y Li and GA Jensen, "Why Do People Let Their Long-Term Care Insurance Lapse?  Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 2012, 34(2): 220-237.

 E Mahmoudi and GA Jensen, "Diverging Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Access to Physician Care: Comparing 2000 and 2007," Medical Care, 2012, 50(45): 327-334.

 X Xu and GA Jensen, "Does Health Insurance Reduce Illness-Related Worker Absenteeism?," Applied Economics, 2012, 44(35): 4591-4603.

RG Salloum,TJ Smith, GA Jensen, and J Elston Lafata.  "Factors Associated with Adherence to Chemotherapy Guidelines in Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer," Lung Cancer, 2012 75(2): 255-260.

Y Li and GA Jensen, "Effects of Drinking on Hospital Stays and Emergency Room Visits Among Older Adults,"  Journal of Aging and Health, 2012 24(1): 67-91.

Y Li and GA Jensen, "The Impact of Private Long Term Care Insurance on the Use of Long Term Care," Inquiry, 2011 48(1): 34-50.

RG Salloum, TJ Smith, GA Jensen, and J Elston Lafata, "Using Claims-Based Measures to Predict Performance Status Score in Patients with Lung Cancer," Cancer, 2011 117(5): 1038-1048.

CA Brunt and GA Jensen, "Medicare Part B Reimbursement and the Perceived Quality of Physician Care," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, 2010 10(2): 149-170.

 X Xu and GA Jensen, "Managed Care and the Near-Elderly: Effects of Plan Enrollment on Functionality," Applied Economics, 2007 39: 2027-2037.

AT Cramer and GA Jensen, "Why Do People Change Their Minds? Evidence from the Purchase of Long Term Care Insurance," in F. Columbus (ed.) Psychology of Decision Making.  Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, 2007.

L McCormack, L Mobley, L Greenwald, M Kuo, and G Jensen, "Guiding Part D Enrollment Decision-Making," Drug Benefit Trends, 2007 19(4): 149-163.

DR Touchette, GA Jensen, and J Stevenson, "Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Amifostine in Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung  Cancer," Journal of Aging and Pharacotherapy, 2006 13(2): 109-126.

AT Cramer and GA Jensen, "Why Don't People Buy Long Term Care Insurance?" Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 2006 61B (4): S185-S193.

X Xu and GA Jensen, "Health Effects of Managed Care Among the Near Elderly," Journal of Aging and Health, 2006 18(4): 507-533.

JP Vistnes, MA Morrisey, and GA Jensen, "Employer Choice of Family Premium Sharing," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics  2006, 6: 25-47.

X Xu and GA Jensen, "Utilization of Health Care Services Among the Near-Elderly: A Comparison of Managed Care and Fee-for-Service Enrollees," Managed Care Interface, 2005 18(3): 60-66.

X Xu, GA Jensen, and SB Ransom, "Patients with Diabetes Enrolled in Medicare HMOs More Likely to Use Oral Medications," Drug Benefit Trends, 2005 17(7): 298-305.