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The impact of health insurance on healthcare service use and costs: evidence from rural China

The impact of health insurance on healthcare service use and costs: evidence from rural China The purpose of this paper is to study the effects of introducing a health insurance program in rural China between 2004 and 2006, the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS).Design/methodology/approachThe authors apply difference in difference and propensity score matching methods (PSM-DID) to a widely used panel dataset, the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS). Findings are robust across several treatment and comparison groups used in previous NCMS studies.FindingsHouseholds who participated in NCMS increased the use of preventive services and western medicine, while lowering the use of traditional Chinese medicine. NCMS also reduced hospital use, out of pocket payments, travel time to healthcare facilities and waiting time to see doctors. The authors estimate that reductions in travel and waiting time saved roughly 52m U.S. dollars in 2006.Research limitations/implicationsPreviously divergent findings on health insurance effects may be due to researchers studying health insurance across different healthcare delivery systems. In addition, in estimating how health insurance access affects healthcare costs, the authors should consider economic costs related to the time needed to access health services.Originality/valueThe authors study how health insurance access affects patients' choice of providers and economic costs to accessing health care services, outcomes that have not received much attention previously. The authors depart from previous NCMS studies by comparing several different approaches to identifying treatment and control groups when applying PSM-DID. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Agricultural Economic Review Emerald Publishing

The impact of health insurance on healthcare service use and costs: evidence from rural China

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References (29)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1756-137X
DOI
10.1108/caer-06-2020-0148
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to study the effects of introducing a health insurance program in rural China between 2004 and 2006, the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS).Design/methodology/approachThe authors apply difference in difference and propensity score matching methods (PSM-DID) to a widely used panel dataset, the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS). Findings are robust across several treatment and comparison groups used in previous NCMS studies.FindingsHouseholds who participated in NCMS increased the use of preventive services and western medicine, while lowering the use of traditional Chinese medicine. NCMS also reduced hospital use, out of pocket payments, travel time to healthcare facilities and waiting time to see doctors. The authors estimate that reductions in travel and waiting time saved roughly 52m U.S. dollars in 2006.Research limitations/implicationsPreviously divergent findings on health insurance effects may be due to researchers studying health insurance across different healthcare delivery systems. In addition, in estimating how health insurance access affects healthcare costs, the authors should consider economic costs related to the time needed to access health services.Originality/valueThe authors study how health insurance access affects patients' choice of providers and economic costs to accessing health care services, outcomes that have not received much attention previously. The authors depart from previous NCMS studies by comparing several different approaches to identifying treatment and control groups when applying PSM-DID.

Journal

China Agricultural Economic ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 1, 2021

Keywords: Health insurance; Health service use; Healthcare reform; New cooperative medical scheme; China

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