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Impact of Universal Health Care Coverage on patient demand for health care services in Thailand

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Author Info

  • Panpiemras, Jirawat
  • Puttitanun, Thitima
  • Samphantharak, Krislert
  • Thampanishvong, Kannika
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    Abstract

    Fully implemented in Thailand in 2002, the Universal Health Care Coverage (UC) Program aimed to provide cheap access to health care services, for 30 baht (less than 1 U.S. dollar) per visit, to all uninsured Thais. In this paper, we studied the impact of the UC in Thailand on the demand for health care services using hospital level data. We found that the UC program was successful in increasing outpatient demand for health care, particularly the demand from the elderly and the poor. However, outpatient demand for health care dramatically increased during the first year of the program and faded away quickly in subsequent years. In contrast to outpatient demand, the number of inpatient visits and the number of days for which the inpatients were admitted at hospitals declined after the UC program was launched. In this paper, we offer our explanation of these phenomena, highlight problems associated with the UC program, and provide policy recommendations to improve the program.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168851011001795
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Health Policy.

    Volume (Year): 103 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 228-235

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:103:y:2011:i:2:p:228-235

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/healthpol

    Related research

    Keywords: Universal coverage; Health care utilization; Capitation; Payment mechanism; Thailand;

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    Cited by:
    1. Supon Limwattananon & Sven Neelsen & Owen O'Donnell & Phusit Prakongsai & Viroj Tangcharoensathien & Eddy van Doorslaer & Vuthiphan Vongmongkol, 2013. "Universal Coverage on a Budget: Impacts on Health Care Utilization and Out-Of-Pocket Expenditures in Thailand," CESifo Working Paper Series 4262, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Ghislando, S & Manachotphong, W & Perego, VME, 2013. "The impact of Universal Health Coverage on healthcare consumption and risky behaviours: evidence from Thailand," Working Papers 11200, Imperial College, London, Imperial College Business School.
    3. Supon Limwattananon & Sven Neelsen & Owen O'Donnell & Phusit Prakongsai & Viroj Tangcharoensathien & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2013. "Universal Coverage on a Budget: Impacts on Health Care Utilization and Out-Of-Pocket Expenditures in Thailand," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-067/V, Tinbergen Institute.

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