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Health insurance and health services utilization in Ireland

Colm Harmon and Brian Nolan ()

Health Economics, 2001, vol. 10, issue 2, 135-145

Abstract: The numbers buying private health insurance in Ireland have continued to grow, despite a broadening in entitlement to public care. About 40% of the population now have insurance, although everyone has entitlement to public hospital care. In this paper, we examine in detail the growth in insurance coverage and the factors underlying the demand for insurance. Attitudinal responses reveal the importance of perceptions about waiting times for public care, as well as some concerns about the quality of that care. Individual characteristics, such as education, age, gender, marital status, family composition and income all influence the probability of purchasing private insurance. We also examine the relationship between insurance and utilization of hospital in-patient services. The positive effect of private insurance appears less than that of entitlement to full free health care from the state, although the latter is means-tested, and may partly represent health status. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Date: 2001
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