Health Insurance; Out-of-pocket expenses; Mekong River Delta
The study uses the Vietnam Household Living Standard Survey in the year of 2012 and 2014 in 13 provinces in the Mekong River Delta (MRD) to evaluate the impact of health insurance on out-of-pocket payments in the MRD. Three models including Pool OLS, Random Effects and Fixed Effects are applied and the regression result shows that health insurance is statistically significant and has the negative relationship with out-of-pocket expenses per visit to outpatient service and inpatient service. The study indicates that health insurance has a positive impact on reducing out-of-pocket expenses, meaning that people who have health insurance spend less than those who do not have health insurance. Heath insurance benefits the society by reducing the monetary cost of using the health services and therefore is potentially advantageous for poor and underprivileged people in approaching healthcare resources. The policy implication insists that it is essential to increase health insurance coverage, especially for the poor and near poor. In addition, policy makers could consider reducing or eliminating co-payments for the poor and policy beneficiaries such as ethnic minorities in the MRD. Moreover, the authority needs to concern about awareness raising in the health insurance of people living in this area.
University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City; VNP (Vietnam – The Netherlands Programme for M.A. in Development Economics)