Access to physician services: does supplemental insurance matter? Evidence from France
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In France, public health insurance is universal but incomplete, with private payments accounting for roughly 25% of all spending. As a result, most people have supplemental private health insurance. We investigate the effects of such insurance on the utilization of physician services using data from the 1998 Enquête sur la santé et la protection sociale, a nationally representative survey of the non-institutionalized French population. Our results indicate that insurance has a strong and significant effect on the utilization of physician services. Individuals with supplemental coverage have substantially more physician visits than those without. While French patients have greater freedom than patients in other countries to choose to see a specialist rather than a general practitioner, we find no evidence that supplemental insurance affects this decision.
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