Impact of health insurance on healthcare utilisation patterns in Vietnam: a survey-based analysis with propensity score matching method

BMJ Open 10:e040062 (2020)
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Abstract

Objectives The study aims to evaluate the impact of the Revised Health Insurance Law 2014 on the utilisation of outpatient and inpatient care services, healthcare services utilisation at different levels of providers, types of providers and types of visits across different entitlement groups. Design/setting Secondary data from two waves of the Vietnam Household Living Standard Survey (VHLSS) 2016, VHLSS 2014 were used. A cross-sectional study applying propensity score matching was conducted. Participants A total of 4900 individuals who reported using healthcare services are analysed. Outcomes measure Numbers of outpatient and inpatient visits, frequency of healthcare service utilisation at commune health stations, district hospitals, provincial hospitals, public and private health facilities, number of visits at health facility for medical treatment and health checks per year. Results The result indicates that health insurance (HI) policy increased the number of outpatient visits for the enrolled between 0.87 and 1.29. The greatest impact was found on participants of heavily subsidised health insurance (HSHI) programmes with 1.29 visits per person per year. Similarly, an increase between 0.08 and 0.16 in the number of inpatient admissions was because of participation in HI. With regard to type of healthcare providers, the study found that participation in HI has the most effect on the use of healthcare services at district hospitals. However, the study demonstrated that the impacts of HI on the increase in the frequency of visiting commune health stations, number of visits at the provincial hospital for HSHI groups, and number of visits at health facilities for health check and consultation were sensitive to unobserved characteristics. Conclusion Our findings imply that policy-makers in Vietnam could continue expanding health insurance coverage to increase access to healthcare services for citizens, especially vulnerable groups. In addition, the government should draw more attention to primary healthcare level.

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