EFFECTS OF NCMS ON ACCESS TO CARE AND FINANCIAL PROTECTION IN CHINA

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ABSTRACT

The introduction of the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) in rural China has been the most rapid and dramatic extension of health insurance coverage in the developing world in this millennium. The literature to date has mainly used the uneven rollout of NCMS across counties as a way of identifying its effects on access to care and financial protection. This study exploits the cross-county variation in NCMS generosity in 2006 and 2008 in the Ningxia and Shandong provinces to estimate the effect of coverage generosity on utilization and financial protection. Our results confirm earlier findings of NCMS being effective in increasing access to care but not in increasing financial protection. In addition, we find NCMS enrollees to be sensitive to the price incentives set in the NCMS design when choosing their provider and providers to respond by increasing prices and/or providing more expensive care. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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