Income and health care utilization among the 50+ in Europe and the US

This study addresses the question how income affects health care utilization by the population aged 50 and over in the United States and a number of European countries with varying health care systems. The probabilities that individuals receive several medical services (visits to general practitioner, specialist, dentist, inpatient, or outpatient services) are analyzed separately using probit models. In addition to controls for income and demographic characteristics, controls for health status (both subjective and objective measures of health) are used. We analyze how the relationship between income and health care utilization varies across countries and relate these cross country differences to characteristics of the health care system, i.e., per capita total and public expenditure on health care, gate-keeping for specialist care, and co-payments.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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