National Health Insurance and Health Inequality in Taiwan

Jui-Chung Allen Li, Academia Sinica
Yu-han Jao, National Taiwan University

Health care reform is under heated debate in the United States. Although prior research shows that having public health insurance improves individual health (e.g., Quesnel-Vallée 2004), not everyone is convinced that a universal insurance coverage will improve population health and reduce health inequality. The National Health Insurance of Taiwan implemented in 1995 that provides a universal coverage to all citizens provides a natural experiment to address this issue. Using eight waves (from 1990 to 2005) of repeated cross-sectional data from the Taiwan Social Change Survey and an identifiable age-period-cohort model with a linear spline specification, we find that the National Health Insurance improves population health and especially health of those with low education, which thus reduces health inequality by education.

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Presented in Session 125: Health Insurance and Health Care Utilization