Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenditure in Turkey: Analysis of the Household Budget Surveys 2002-2008

Dilek Basar, Sarah Brown, Arne Risa Hole

Abstract

This paper analyses the prevalence of ‘catastrophic’ out-of-pocket health expenditure in Turkey and identifies the factors which are associated with its risk using the Turkish Household Budget Surveys from 2002 to 2008. A sample selection approach based on Sartori (2003) is adopted to allow for the potential selection problem which may arise if poor households choose not to seek health care due to concerns regarding its affordability. The results suggest that poor households are less likely to seek health care as compared to non-poor households and that a negative relationship between poverty and experiencing catastrophic health expenditure remains even after allowing for such selection bias. Our findings, which may assist policy-makers concerned with health care system reforms, also highlight factors such as insurance coverage, which may protect households from the risk of incurring catastrophic health expenditure.