You are here

Inequity in publicly funded physician care: What is the role of private prescription drug coverage?

TitleInequity in publicly funded physician care: What is the role of private prescription drug coverage?
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsAllin, S., and Hurley J.
JournalThe Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA) Working Paper Series
Keywordshealth, insurance, physician, prescription drugs, public funds, social assistance
Abstract

This study examines the impact that private financing of prescription drugs in Canada has on equity in the utilization of publicly financed physician services. The complementary nature of prescription drugs and physician service use alongside the reliance on private finance for drugs may induce an income gradient in the use of physicians. We use established econometric methods based on concentration curves to measure equity in physician utilization and its contributors in the province of Ontario. We find that individuals with prescription drug insurance make more physician visits than do those without insurance, and the effect on utilization is stronger for the likelihood of a visit than the conditional number of visits, and for individuals with no chronic conditions than those with at least one condition. Results of the equity analyses reveal the most important contributors to the pro-rich inequity in physician utilization are income and private insurance, while public insurance, which covers older people and those on social assistance, has a pro-poor effect. These findings highlight that inequity in access to and use of publicly funded services may arise from the interaction with privately financed health services that are complements to the use of public services.

URLhttp://ideas.repec.org/p/hpa/wpaper/200802.html
Document URLhttp://www.chepa.org/files/working%20papers/chepa%20wp%2008-02.pdf