Empirical Study on the Utilization and Effects of Health Checkups in Japan
Xin Xin Ma,
Masaru Nagashima and
Discussion papers from Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI)
Health checkups have been commonly considered as an important measure to improve population health. The Japanese government has urged health insurers to promote health checkups, including the specific health checkups (SHC) which was recently implemented in 2008 to cover the whole population between ages 40 and 74. However, there remains a large gap between the actual prevalence and the goals set by the government. Using the Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions (CSLC) survey data from 1995 to 2013 in Japan, we conduct an empirical study to answer three questions: Which factors determinate the prevalence of general health checkups in Japan at the regional level? Which factors affect the decisions on taking health checkups at the individual level? Does SHC have any effects on various health outcomes? Our results suggest that there is a great regional disparity in the prevalence of health checkups in Japan, even after accommodating for various socio-economic factors. In addition, despite the government's promotion policies, little improvement is observed in the prevalence of health checkups from 1995 to 2013. Moreover, at the individual level, the participation rate for health checkups by non-regular/part-time workers and by the enrollees of the National Health Insurance is lower than that of their counterparts. Lastly, although SHC since 2008 appeared to have a positive effect on the probability of taking health checkups, so far it has little effect on health status, smoking behavior, and medical expenses.
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