ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION Health systems are one determinant of health; their role is to facilitate timely and equitable access to quality services. The way in which a health system is organized can profoundly affect achievement of its objectives. The main feature of the Chilean health system is the coexistence of a public health insurance program (based on a social insurance model) with several market-based private health insurance companies. This hybrid structure provides an interesting framework for analyzing and evaluating the system’s effects on health inequalities. OBJECTIVE Assess Chilean public and private health insurance schemes’ performance and its effects on health inequalities. METHODS Public health insurance was compared with private insurance using indicators from 2013 (or the closest year) in the following domains: inputs, outputs (provider visits, discharges), outcomes (coverage) and impact (on health, quality of life, finances and patient satisfaction) as well as demographic and social determinant indicators. A conceptual framework for measuring health system performance was used. Data were obtained from administrative records and population-based surveys. RESULTS The publicly insured population had greater health care needs, was older (aging index 83.4 vs. 36.5) and poorer (17.2% vs. 1.5% below the poverty line) than the population covered by private insurers. The public insurer received average monthly funding of US$50.94 per beneficiary and spent US$51.43, while private insurers on average collected US$94.79 monthly per beneficiary, and spent US$69.63 on health services (excluding medical leave benefits). Private health insurance beneficiaries were more likely than their publicly insured counterparts to access specialized medical services (18.3% vs. 9.3%) and dentists (11.2% vs. 5.9%), have laboratory tests (18.1% vs. 4.8%), and undergo surgery (7.8% vs. 5.9%). Risk factor and disease prevalence was lower among private insurance beneficiaries for 16 of 18 tracer conditions, although age-adjusted differences were not significant. Finally, incidence of catastrophic spending was slightly lower among private insurance beneficiaries (3.7% vs. 4.2%), and a greater proportion of them were satisfied or very satisfied with the health system (37% vs. 17%). CONCLUSIONS The relative youth and better financial status of beneficiaries of private insurers is compatible with selection for lower risk. While private plans offer greater financial protection and receive higher user satisfaction ratings than the public plan, differences in financing between the two types of insurance affect availability and utilization of services. This constitutes a structural problem for the Chilean health system. There is an urgent need to move toward an integrated health system, in which incentives are aligned with social insurance objectives.
Background: The Chilean health reform aimed to expand universal health coverage (UHC) with equity. Aim: To analyze progress in health system affiliation, attended health needs (health visit for a recent problem) and direct payment for services, between 2000 and 2011. Material and Methods: We evaluated these outcomes for adults aged 20 years or older, analyzing databases of five National Socioeconomic Characterization Surveys. Using logistic regression models for no affiliation and unattended needs, we estimated odds ratios (OR) and prevalences, adjusted for socio-demographic characteristics. Results: The unaffiliated population decreased from 11.0% (95% confidence interval (CI) 10.6-11.4) in 2000 to 3.0% (95% CI 2.8-3.2) in 2011. According to the model, self-employed workers had a higher adjusted prevalence of no affiliation: 27.4% (95% CI 24.1-30.6) in 2000 and 7.8% (95% CI: 5.9-9.7) in 2011. The level of unmet needs decreased from 33.5% (95% CI 31.8-35.1) to 9.1% (95% CI 8.1-10.1) in this period. Not being affiliated to the health system was associated with higher unmet needs in the adjusted model. Indigent affiliates, entitled to free care in the public system, reported payments for general and specialist visits in a much lower proportion than other groups. However, direct payments for visits increased for this group during the decade. Conclusions: Concurrent with the introduction of new health and social policies, we observed significant progress in health system enrolment and attended health needs. However, the percentage of impoverished people who made direct payments for services increased.
OBJETIVO: Determinar si las barreras y los elementos facilitadores de acceso a la atención de salud son transversales a distintas poblaciones, países y patologías, e identificar en qué etapas del proceso de acceso a la atención sanitaria se presentan con más frecuencia. MÉTODOS: Revisión sistemática cualitativa de literatura publicada durante el período 2000-2010. Se consultaron seis fuentes internacionales: Fuente Académica, Medline en texto completo, Base de datos académica multidisciplinaria en texto completo (Academic Search Complete), PubMed, SciELO y LILACS. Se aplicaron criterios de valoración científica del Programa CASPe y la declaración STROBE. En paralelo se revisó literatura gris. RESULTADOS: Se seleccionaron 19 de 1 160 resultados de la revisión de artículos científicos, y 8 de 12 documentos de la revisión de literatura gris. Se identificaron 230 barreras y 35 facilitadores en países con diferentes contextos y grados de desarrollo. Las 230 barreras se clasificaron acorde al modelo de Tanahashi: 25 corresponden a la dimensión disponibilidad, 67 a accesibilidad, 87 a aceptabilidad y 51 a contacto. La mayor proporción de barreras correspondió a la dimensión de aceptabilidad y de accesibilidad. Los elementos facilitadores identificados tienen relación con factores personales, relación entre prestadores y usuarios, apoyo social, información sobre la enfermedad y adaptación de los servicios al paciente. CONCLUSIONES: La identificación de barreras y facilitadores se realiza mayoritariamente en personas que han contactado los sistemas sanitarios y en todas las etapas del proceso de acceso a la atención de salud. Se identificaron pocos estudios orientados a quienes no contactan los servicios. Las barreras y facilitadores identificados están socialmente determinados, y la mayoría son expresión de inequidades sociales que existen en los países y requieren una acción conjunta con otros sectores distintos de salud para ser reducidas o eliminadas.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether health care access barriers and facilitators cut across different populations, countries, and pathologies, and if so, at which stages of health care access they occur most frequently. METHODS: A qualitative systematic review of literature published between 2000 and 2010 was undertaken drawing on six international sources: Fuente Académica, MEDLINE (full-text), Academic Search Complete (a full-text multidisciplinary academic database), PubMed, SciELO, and LILACS. Scientific appraisal guidelines from the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Español (CASPe) and Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) were applied. Gray literature was also reviewed. RESULTS: From the review of scientific literature, 19 of 1 160 articles and 8 of 12 gray literature documents were selected. A total of 230 barriers and 35 facilitators were identified in countries with different contexts and degrees of development. The 230 barriers were classified according to the Tanahashi framework: 25 corresponded to availability, 67 to access, 87 to acceptability, and 51 to contact. Most of the barriers were related to acceptability and access. The facilitating elements that were identified had to do with personal factors, the provider-client relationship, social support, knowledge about diseases, and adaptation of the services to patients. CONCLUSIONS: The barriers and facilitators were seen mostly in people who initiated contact with the health systems, and they occurred at all stages of health care access. Only a few of the studies looked at people who did not initiate contact with the health services. The barriers and facilitators identified were socially determined and largely a reflection of existing social inequities in the countries. To reduce or eliminate them, joint action with other non-health sectors will be necessary.