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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


BOS, Antônio M G  and  BOS, Ângelo J G. Determinants of elders' choice between private and public health care providers. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2004, vol.38, n.1, pp.113-120. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: Elderly choose between utilizing private or public health care providers based on their socioeconomic, demographic, and epidemiological condition. The purposes of this study was to evaluate how these factors affect the choice of health care provider and to compare the impact of their choice on individual and family income. METHODS: Data from 7,920 elders interviewed in a study of the State Committee for the Elderly of the state of Rio Grande do Sul in 1995 was used to evaluate the impact of elders' gender, age, educational level, individual income, family income, family size, participation in the family total income, and health self-assessment when choosing private or public health care providers. The statistical analysis was carried out using logistic regression. RESULTS: To have access to private health care providers, family income had a much more significant impact than individual income. When family income increased in one minimum wage, the odds of using private providers increased by 20% while it was only 7% when there was a similar increase in individual income. Other variables had also a positive impact: female, age, schooling, and smaller family size. CONCLUSIONS: Elderly choices' on health care depend on the family's needs and resources and not on the individual's condition. Therefore, low-income elderly health is a lower priority in the family and it is disproportionately impaired by reduced family resources and deficiencies of public health care.

Keywords : Aging health; Health services accessibility; Private medical coverage [utilization]; State medical coverage [utilization]; Health services [economics]; Family income; Socioeconomic factors.

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