• Open Access

Confidence in receiving medical care when seriously ill: a seven-country comparison of the impact of cost barriers

Authors


Claus Wendt
Chair, Sociology of Health and Healthcare Systems
Department of Sociology
University of Siegen
Adolf-Reichwein-Straße 2
D-57068 Siegen
Germany
and
External Fellow, Project Director
Mannheim Center for European Social Research
University of Mannheim
A5, 6
68159 Mannheim, Germany
E-mail: wendt@soziologie.uni-siegen.de

Abstract

Objective  This paper examines how negative experiences with the health-care system create a lack of confidence in receiving medical care in seven countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Methods  The empirical analysis is based on data from the Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey 2007, with nationally representative samples of adults aged 18 and over. For the analysis of the experience of cost barriers and confidence in receiving medical care, we conducted pairwise comparisons of group percentages as well as country-wise multivariate logistic regression models.

Results  Individuals who have experienced cost barriers show a significantly lower level of confidence in receiving safe and quality medical care than those who have not. This effect is most pronounced in the United States, where people who have foregone necessary treatment because of costs are four times as likely to lack confidence as individuals without the experience of cost barriers (adjusted odds ratio 4.00). In New Zealand, Germany, and Canada, individuals with the experience of cost barriers are twice as likely to report low confidence compared with those without this experience (adjusted odds ratios of 1.95, 2.19 and 2.24, respectively). In the Netherlands and UK, cost barriers are only a marginal phenomenon.

Conclusions  The fact that the experience of financial barriers considerably lowers confidence indicates that financial incentives, such as private co-payments, have a negative effect on overall public support and therefore on the legitimacy of health-care systems.

Ancillary