Factors Affecting the Utilization of Outpatient Health Services and Importance of Health Insurance
Research on the utilization of health services provides an opportunity to identify and determine the quantity and quality of factors, which can facilitate or debilitate access to services. Policymakers believe that factors affecting the use of health services should be quantified in order to allocate further resources to indicators, which can help reduce inequalities. This study aimed to investigate factors affecting the utilization of outpatient services and to determine the effect of health insurance on financial support for individuals.
The present study included all Iranian households, which had been recruited by the Statistical Center of Iran in 2012 - 2013. The data were analyzed in 2 logit models and divided into urban and rural areas.
According to the results, basic and full insurance coverage was the main factor, influencing the utilization of outpatient health services. Furthermore, age composition of households affected their utilization of these services. More precisely, households with more members aged 65 years tended to use outpatient services more frequently. In addition, households with female heads and those from higher decile groups were more likely to use outpatient services. On the contrary, educational level and household size had negative effects on demand for outpatient health services.
Based on the results, there was a significant association between social and economic status and utilization of outpatient services. For decreasing the observed inequalities, policymakers should pay particular attention to households with low income and members aged 65 years and provide access to health services for these groups (eg, access to family physicians).
Shiraz Emedical Journal, Volume:18 Issue: 8, 2017
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