Copayments, gatekeeping, and the utilization of outpatient public and private care at age 50 and above in Europe
I analyze the relationship between health care institutions and the utilization of outpatient services by individuals aged 50 and above. I use cross-sectional micro data from thirteen European countries. I focus on the out-of-pocket costs of health care utilization, the gatekeeper role of general practitioners, and how these institutional settings are related to public and private care utilization. I find that copayments are related negatively to the probability of visiting a general practitioner among those in good health condition. I estimate the utilization of private specialist care to be higher in countries where copayments are required for public specialist care, and where the general practitioners have gatekeeper role. These estimated associations with private specialist care utilization are relatively large in magnitude, and are driven by individuals in the top income quartile.
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