Health Insurance and Health Care Access in China
The Chinese government has made recent efforts to expand health insurance to rural areas that have been primarily dependent upon private health care providers. Because private providers do not accept insurance, the insurance scheme may cause patients to shift usage from private to public providers, thus not necessarily resulting in an overall expansion of health care delivery. This study uses a 2001 survey of 3,600 households in three Chinese provinces to analyze whether health insurance is actually expanding overall service delivery or is simply switching patients from private to public provider utilization. By statistically comparing the provider choices of households with health insurance to those of uninsured households, this study finds evidence that health insurance expands overall health care utilization in China. The findings relate only to service utilization and do not address health outcomes.
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