ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to identify the relationship between health insurance and health by evaluating the impacts of health insurance coverage expansion on health care utilization and health status. To analyze the causal relationship between health insurance and health, this study employed a “difference-in-difference method” that could compare changes in health care utilization and health status across groups in health insurance coverage expansion in 2005. The researcher predicted that the expansion of health insurance coverage would be an exogenous source of variation in the prices of health service use. First, the difference-in-differences estimator between ‘illness group’ and ‘non-illness group’ revealed that the increase in coverage of inpatient care services would result from the increases in the stay of length of ‘non-illness group’ rather than that of ‘illness group’. However, the difference-in-differences estimator between ‘serious illness group’ and ‘chronic illness group’ identified that the policy change that focuses on expansion of the coverage for ‘serious illness’ effects on the increases in health care utilization and promotion of health status. In summary, the changes of health insurance coverage focusing on serious illness and inpatient care have positive effects on health care utilization and health status of serious illness group. But, ‘non-illness groups’ with acute illness receive more benefits from the policy change than ‘illness group’ with chronic illness.

KEYWORD

the expansion of health insurance coverage, health care utilization, unmet needs for health care, health status, difference-in-differences method

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