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Health insurance and use of alternative medicine in Mexico


  • van Gameren, Edwin


Objectives I analyze the effect of coverage by health insurance on the use of alternative medicine such as folk healers and homeopaths, in particular if it complements or substitutes conventional services.Methods Panel data from the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) is used to estimate bivariate probit models in order to explain the use of alternative medicine while allowing the determinant of interest, access to health insurance, to be an endogenous factor.Results The findings indicate that households with insurance coverage less often use alternative medicine, and that the effect is much stronger among poor than among rich households.Conclusions Poor households substitute away from traditional medicine towards conventional medicine.

Suggested Citation

  • van Gameren, Edwin, 2010. "Health insurance and use of alternative medicine in Mexico," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 50-57, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:98:y:2010:i:1:p:50-57

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Maloney, William F., 2004. "Informality Revisited," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1178, July.
    2. Tuhin K. Das & Dipanwita S. D. Choudhury, 2007. "Are 'complementary and alternative medicines' alternative to conventional medical system? An economic evaluation," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(9), pages 697-700.
    3. Puig, Andrea & Pagán, José A. & Soldo, Beth J., 2006. "Envejecimiento, salud y economía. La Encuesta Nacional sobre Salud y Envejecimiento en México," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(290), pages 407-418, abril-jun.
    4. José A. Pagán & Andrea Puig & Beth J. Soldo, 2007. "Health insurance coverage and the use of preventive services by Mexican adults," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(12), pages 1359-1369.
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