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

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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Panpiemras, Jirawat & Puttitanun, Thitima & Samphantharak, Krislert & Thampanishvong, Kannika, 2011. "Impact of Universal Health Care Coverage on patient demand for health care services in Thailand," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 228-235.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:103:y:2011:i:2:p:228-235
    DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2011.08.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hughes, David & Leethongdee, Songkramchai & Osiri, Sunantha, 2010. "Using economic levers to change behaviour: The case of Thailand's universal coverage health care reforms," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 447-454, February.
    2. Joseph P. Newhouse & Charles E. Phelps, 1976. "New Estimates of Price and Income Elasticities of Medical Care Services," NBER Chapters,in: The Role of Health Insurance in the Health Services Sector, pages 261-320 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Suraratdecha, Chutima & Saithanu, Somying & Tangcharoensathien, Viroj, 2005. "Is universal coverage a solution for disparities in health care?: Findings from three low-income provinces of Thailand," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 272-284, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rieger, Matthias & Wagner, Natascha & Bedi, Arjun S., 2017. "Universal health coverage at the macro level: Synthetic control evidence from Thailand," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 46-55.
    2. Rieger, M. & Wagner, N. & Bedi, A.S., 2015. "Macroeconomic impacts of Universal Health Coverage : Synthetic control evidence from Thailand," ISS Working Papers - General Series 609, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    3. 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.
    4. Wanwiphang Manachotphong & Jirawat Panpiemras & Nada Wasi, 2016. "The Role of Reimbursement Approaches on Healthcare Demand: The Case of Thai Civil Servants Medical Benefit Scheme," PIER Discussion Papers 48, Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research, revised Nov 2016.
    5. 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.
    6. Limwattananon, Supon & Neelsen, Sven & O'Donnell, Owen & Prakongsai, Phusit & Tangcharoensathien, Viroj & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Vongmongkol, Vuthiphan, 2015. "Universal coverage with supply-side reform: The impact on medical expenditure risk and utilization in Thailand," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 79-94.

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