The impact of public voluntary health insurance on private health expenditures in Vietnam
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As a financing mechanism with the potential to raise additional funds for health services, whilst improving access to services amongst the poor, non-profit health insurance has become increasingly attractive to health policy-makers. Using data from a household survey in Vietnam, out of pocket health expenditure are compared between members and eligible non-members of the government-implemented voluntary health insurance scheme. Expenditures are analysed for individuals who sought care during their most recent illness. Using an endogenous dummy variable model to control for bias resulting from self-selection into the scheme, we find that health insurance reduces average out-of-pocket expenditures by approximately 200%. Whilst income inelastic, health expenditures are found to be significantly influenced by an individuals level of income, irrespective of insurance status. Despite this, insurance reduces expenditures significantly more for the poor than for the rich.
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