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Impact of China's Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance on Health Care Utilization and Expenditure

  • Liu, Hong

    ()

    (Central University of Finance and Economics)

  • Zhao, Zhong

    ()

    (Renmin University of China)

In 2007, China launched a subsidized voluntary public health insurance program, the Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance, for urban residents without formal employment, including children, the elderly, and other unemployed urban residents. We estimate the impact of this program on health care utilization and expenditure using 2006 and 2009 waves of the China Health and Nutrition Survey. We find that this program has significantly increased the utilization of formal medical services. This result is robust to various specifications and multiple estimation strategies. However, there is no evidence that it has reduced out-of-pocket expenditure and some evidence suggesting that it has increased the total health care expenditure. We also find that this program has improved medical care utilization more for the elderly, for the low- and middle-income families, and for the residents in the relatively poor western region.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6768.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Does Health Insurance Matter? Evidence from China's Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance' in: Journal of Comparative Economics, 2014, 42 (4), 1007-1020 [Details & Download]
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6768
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  1. Xiaoyun Sun & Sukhan Jackson & Gordon Carmichael & Adrian C. Sleigh, 2009. "Catastrophic medical payment and financial protection in rural China: evidence from the New Cooperative Medical Scheme in Shandong Province," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 103-119.
  2. Chyi, Hau & Zhou, Bo, 2014. "The effects of tuition reforms on school enrollment in rural China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 104-123.
  3. Wanchuan Lin & Gordon G. Liu & Gang Chen, 2009. "The Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance: a landmark reform towards universal coverage in China," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S2), pages S83-S96, July.
  4. Chen, Yuyu & Jin, Ginger Zhe, 2012. "Does health insurance coverage lead to better health and educational outcomes? Evidence from rural China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-14.
  5. Currie, Janet & Gruber, Jonathan, 2001. "Public health insurance and medical treatment: the equalizing impact of the Medicaid expansions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 63-89, October.
  6. Wagstaff, Adam & Lindelow, Magnus, 2008. "Can insurance increase financial risk?: The curious case of health insurance in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 990-1005, July.
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