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Health Insurance Benefits and the Utilization of Health Care Among the Elderly in China

【Authors】
WANG Zhen, FENG Jin & SONG Hong
【WorkUnit】
Fudan University, 200433.
【Abstract】

In China, the health care expenditures have undergone a rapid growth recently and people urge to have more generous health insurance benefits. Against this background, this paper examines the effect of improving the health insurance benefits on the health care utilization and medical expenditure for elderly people. This paper focuses on elderly people who spend most of current health expenditures. We exploit regression discontinuity design at retirement with a reduction in the hospitalization reimbursement ratio for UEBMI in Shanghai to examine its effects on utilization among elderly people. We find that when the out-of-pocket expenditure ratio decreases by 1%, the inpatient admissions increase by about 0.355%, and the days of hospitalization increase by about 0.357%. However, there is no effect on the inpatient spending. This paper indicates that moderate increase in the current health insurance benefits for the elderly won't lead to excessive health expenditure growth.

 

JEL:G22, I11, J14

【KeyWords】
Social Health Insurance, Health Expenditures, Medical Consumption, Price Elasticity