September 2004

IZA DP No. 1316: The Evolution of Income-Related Inequalities in Health Care Utilization in Switzerland over Time

published in: CESifo Economic Studies, 2006, 52 (4), 666-690

This study investigates equity in access to health care in Switzerland over time, using nationwide representative survey data from 1982, 1992, 1997 and 2002. Both simple quintile distributions and concentration indices are used to assess horizontal equity, i.e. the extent to which adults in equal need for medical care appear to have equal rates of medical care utilization. Looking at each of the four survey years separately the results indicate that by and large, there is little or no inequity in use except with respect to specialist visits which are clearly pro rich distributed as in most other OECD countries. We neither find much significant variation over time despite the fact that the share of health care has grown from close to 8% to more than 11% over this period and that a major reform of the health care system has taken place in 1996.