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Understanding the Non-medical Costs of Healthcare: Evidence from Inpatient Care for Older People in China

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Early online date16 Sep 2019
Accepted/In press14 Apr 2019
E-pub ahead of print16 Sep 2019


King's Authors


Non-medical costs, including costs associated with carers, travel, food and accommodation for family members who care for older people during their medical visits, can constitute a substantial part of total healthcare costs, especially for older people. Using data from the 2015 China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey, this study examines the effects of such non-medical costs on catastrophic health payments and health payment-induced poverty among older people in China. Results indicate that non-medical costs account for approximately 18 per cent of total inpatient costs. The percentage is highest for those in the lowest economic brackets. Rural populations are more likely than urban populations to incur catastrophic health payments and suffer from health payment-induced poverty. Non-medical costs increase the chances of older people incurring catastrophic health payments and suffering from health payment-induced poverty. These findings suggest that policymakers should look to develop new policies that facilitate reimbursement of non-medical costs, particularly for the rural population.

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