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Health insurance coverage and the use of preventive services by Mexican adults


  • José A. Pagán
  • Andrea Puig

    (Health Care Systems Department, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA)

  • Beth J. Soldo

    (Population Aging Research Center and Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA)


The lack of health insurance coverage could be a potentially important deterrent to the use of preventive health care by older adults with high rates of chronic co-morbidities. We use survey data from 12 100 Mexican adults ages 50 and older who participated in the 2001 Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) to analyze the relation between health insurance coverage and the use of preventive health-care services in Mexico. Uninsured adults were less likely to use preventive screenings for hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and (breast, cervical and prostate) cancer than insured adults. After adjusting for other factors affecting preventive care utilization in a logistic regression model, we found that these results still hold for high cholesterol and diabetes screening. Similar results hold for the population not working during the survey week and for adults earning below 200% of the poverty line. Our results suggest that insured adults are in a relatively better position to detect some chronic diseases - and have them treated promptly - than uninsured adults because they have better access to cost-effective preventive screenings. Recent public policy initiatives to increase health insurance coverage rates in Mexico could lead to substantially higher preventive health-care utilization rates and improvements in population health. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:16:y:2007:i:12:p:1359-1369 DOI: 10.1002/hec.1226

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sosa-Rubí, Sandra G. & Galárraga, Omar & Harris, Jeffrey E., 2009. "Heterogeneous impact of the "Seguro Popular" program on the utilization of obstetrical services in Mexico, 2001-2006: A multinomial probit model with a discrete endogenous variable," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 20-34, January.
    2. van Gameren, Edwin, 2010. "Health insurance and use of alternative medicine in Mexico," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 50-57, November.
    3. Jürgen Maurer, 2008. "Assessing horizontal equity in medication treatment among elderly Mexicans: which socioeconomic determinants matter most?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(10), pages 1153-1169.
    4. Fernando Riosmena & Rebeca Wong & Alberto Palloni, 2013. "Migration Selection, Protection, and Acculturation in Health: A Binational Perspective on Older Adults," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(3), pages 1039-1064, June.
    5. Shigute, Zemzem & Strupat, Christoph & Burchi, Francesco & Alemu, Getnet & Bedi, Arjun S., 2017. "The Joint Effects of a Health Insurance and a Public Works Scheme in Rural Ethiopia," IZA Discussion Papers 10939, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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