Health care use in response to health shocks: Does socio‐economic status matter?

Abstract We investigate how utilization of primary care, specialist care, and emergency department (ED) care (and the mix across the three) changes in response to a change in health need. We determine whether any changes in utilization are impacted by socio-economic status. The use of a unique Australian data set that consists of a large survey linked to multiple years of detailed administrative records enables us to better control for individual heterogeneity and allows us to exploit changes in health that are related to the onset of two health shocks: a new diagnosis of diabetes and heart disease. We extend the analysis by also examining changes to patient out-of-pocket costs. We find ...

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