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Demand for voluntary health insurance in developing countries: The case of Vietnam's school-age children and adolescent student health insurance program

  • Nguyen, Ha
  • Knowles, James
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    Many developing countries are trying to expand health insurance to achieve universal coverage, yet enrolling informal sector workers and the rural population remains a challenge. A good knowledge of factors driving demand for health insurance among these groups is therefore important. The current study contributes to this body of knowledge by analyzing demand for school-age children and adolescent student (aged 6-20) health insurance, a major voluntary health insurance scheme in Vietnam. Data were drawn form the Vietnam National Health Survey (2001-2002). We found that demand increases significantly with the expected benefits of insurance as measured by proximity to and quality of a tertiary hospital. There is a strong socio-economic gradient both at the household and commune levels, with wealthier, more educated households in better-off communes significantly more likely to purchase insurance for their children. No clear evidence of adverse selection is observed whether health status is assessed objectively or subjectively. Finally, while female heads of household are generally more prone to purchase health insurance for their children, households prioritize young children, male children, and those children with more schooling in their purchase decision. Findings emphasize the need to understand the effects of both health system factors and intra-household dynamics in resource allocation to explain the demand for health insurance in developing countries.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 71 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 12 (December)
    Pages: 2074-2082

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:71:y:2010:i:12:p:2074-2082
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