How Poverty, Residence Status and Health Insurance Predict Unmet Healthcare Needs among Chinese Elders?

Lili Wu, Chunyin Wang, Jiayun Kou


This study focuses on the variability in unmet healthcare needs among vulnerable Chinese elders and the degree to which these unmet needs are associated with socioeconomic disadvantages. We use the 2013 wave of China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) and a multinomial logistic model to investigate how poverty, residence status and particular health insurance schemes influence unmet healthcare needs independently and in combination. Our results show that poverty and rural residence are strong predictors of unmet healthcare needs due to financial and non-financial constraints, respectively. Although health insurance can reduce financial barriers, its influence varies with different insurance schemes, thus generating unequal healthcare access among heterogeneous vulnerable subgroups of elders and putting poor rural migrants at the highest risk for unmet healthcare needs. Our findings direct attention to the differences in resources available to various subgroups of elders and the importance of social stratification in predicting unmet health care needs.

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Applied Economics and Finance    ISSN 2332-7294 (Print)   ISSN 2332-7308 (Online)

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