Financial protection in health in Turkey: the effects of the Health Transformation Programme

Mahmut S Yardim, Nesrin Cilingiroglu, Nazan Yardim
Health Policy and Planning 2014, 29 (2): 177-92
Financial protection should be the principal objective of any health system. Commonly used indicators for financial protection are out-of-pocket (OOP) payments as a share of total health expenditure and the amount of households driven into poverty by catastrophic health expenditures (CHEs). In the last decade, OOP health payments consisted of approximately one-fifth of the health finance resources in Turkey. Until the year 2008, Turkish health system covered different public and private financing programmes as well as different types of service provision. After 2008, universal financial coverage became a part of the Health Transformation Programme (HTP). This study aimed to evaluate the financial protection in health in the era of health reforms in Turkey between 2003 and 2009. Household expenditures were derived from nationally representative Turkish Household Budget Surveys (HBSs), 2003, 2006 and 2009. Proportion of households facing CHE and impoverishment are calculated by using the methodology proposed by Ke Xu. Probability of incurring and volume of OOP spending were assessed across the health insurance groups by two-part model approach using logistic and OLS regression methods. Our findings showed that the probability of incurring and volume of OOP spending increased gradually in publicly insured households between 2003 and 2009. However, there was a diminishing trend in CHE in Turkey during the period under consideration. The official data showing an ∼3-fold increase in per capita health care use since 2003 and our study findings on decreasing CHE in this period can be interpreted as positive impact of HTP. On the other hand, increased household consumption as a share of OOP health payment and the deterioration in the progressivity of OOP spending in this period should be monitored closely.

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