JOURNAL ARTICLE

The impact of the urban resident basic medical insurance on health services utilisation in China

Gang Chen, Gordon G Liu, Fei Xu
PharmacoEconomics 2014, 32 (3): 277-92
24178373

BACKGROUND: The Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance (URBMI), launched in 2007 by the State Council, aims to cover around 420 million urban residents in China.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to assess the impact of URBMI on health services access (especially inpatient utilisation) in urban China.

METHODS: Data was drawn from the recent four-wave URBMI Survey (2008-2011). Probit and recursive bivariate probit models have been adopted to handle the possible endogeneity of medical insurance in the utilisation equations.

RESULTS: Based on the preferred results from the unbalanced four-wave panel data, we found that the URBMI had significantly increased the likelihood of receiving inpatient treatment in the past year. However, the insurance effect on reducing the refused hospitalisation was insignificant. Finally, the URBMI had also increased the probability of using outpatient services in the past 2 weeks, although the insurance reimburses mainly against critical outpatient care.

CONCLUSIONS: Given that it is still early days for the URBMI scheme, the positive effect on health services utilisation is appreciable.

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