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The Impact of Healthcare Insurance on the Utilisation of Facility-Based Delivery for Childbirth in the Philippines
Authors: Hebe N Gouda, Andrew Hodge, Raoul Bermejo 3rd, Willibald Zeck, and Eliana Jimenez-Soto
Source: PLOS ONE , 11(12): e0167268; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167268
Topic(s): Delivery care
Health care utilization
Institutional births
Maternal health
Country: Asia
Published: DEC 2016
Abstract: Objectives: In recent years, the government of the Philippines embarked upon an ambitious Universal Health Care program, underpinned by the rapid scale-up of subsidized insurance coverage for poor and vulnerable populations. With a view of reducing the stubbornly high maternal mortality rates in the country, the program has a strong focus on maternal health services and is supported by a national policy of universal facility-based delivery (FBD). In this study, we examine the impact that recent reforms expanding health insurance coverage have had on FBD. Results: Data from the most recent Philippines 2013 Demographic Health Survey was employed. This study applies quasi-experimental methods using propensity scores along with alternative matching techniques and weighted regression to control for self-selection and investigate the impact of health insurance on the utilization of FBD. Findings: Our findings reveal that the likelihood of FBD for women who are insured is between 5 to 10 percent higher than for those without insurance. The impact of health insurance is more pronounced amongst rural and poor women for whom insurance leads to a 9 to 11 per cent higher likelihood of FBD. Conclusions: We conclude that increasing health insurance coverage is likely to be an effective approach to increase women's access to FBD. Our findings suggest that when such coverage is subsidized, as it is the case in the Philippines, women from poor and rural populations are likely to benefit the most.