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The higher your income is, the better health service you get

14 August 2012
Doctor and patient
OECD report headlines major income-related inequalities in the utilisation of health care. The better-off are more likely to visit doctors, and specialists in particular, than those with lower incomes.

Inequities and inequalities in health care utilisation persist across the OECD countries according to a report from OECD.

The better-off are more likely to visit doctors - especially specialists - than those with lower incomes (after adjustment for needs for health care).

Income-related inequalities in breast cancer screening appear in around half of all countries, with a higher rate among the better-off. Pro-rich inequalities in dental visits and in cervical cancer screening are present in almost all countries.

A comparison with previous results shows that the inequalities in doctor and GP visits have remained stable.

Findings highlight the important effects of certain health system features on equity. Broader health insurance coverage improves access. The higher the share of public health expenditure, the lower the inequity in doctor visits. Similarly, greater inequity in specialist visits accompanies a higher degree of private provision.

Inequalities in dental visits and breast and cervical cancer screening appear in numerous countries, with the better-off making more use of services.

Read the ful report Income-related inequalities in health service utilisation in 19 OECD countries

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