73rd International Atlantic Economic Conference

March 28 - 31, 2012 | Istanbul, Turkey

Self-perceived health status and health care utilization in China

Friday, 30 March 2012: 9:50 AM
Yue-hua Zhang, Ph.D. , School of Public Administration, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
Chu-shiu Li, Ph.D. , International Business, National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology, Taichung, Taiwan
Chwen-Chi Liu, Ph.D. , Risk Management & Insurance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan

Aim In 2008, the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study was conducted. The targeted samples from households are aged 45 years and above. This pilot survey provides the opportunity to examine the health related issues of the elderly in China. We attempt to analyze the determinants of self-perceived health status versus those of actual health status and to compare the differences in health status between the two sample provinces.

Methods The data used is from the pilot survey focusing on two provinces: Gansu and Zhejiang, representing the poor inland and rich coastal provinces, respectively. The responses from self-perceived health status contain ordered index variable. A standard ordered probit regression is used. To examine the utilizations of outpatient and inpatient care, probit regression is used.    

Results Illnesses and diagnosed conditions significantly affect health status. High intensity and moderate intensity physical activities are significantly good for health. Respondents with longer life expectancy report significantly better health at the 1% level. Outpatient variable has negative and income variable has positive effects on health status in Zhejiang but not in Gansu. In general, respondents from Zhejiang have better health in terms of various indicators.

Conclusions A disparity in health status exists between Zhejiang and Gansu. Improving the accessibility of health care in rural areas of underdeveloped provinces might be a future target of health policies in China.