Low Income and the Number of Contacts with General Practice
16 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2008 Last revised: 5 Nov 2008
Date Written: October 23, 2008
Introduction: The purpose of this study is to examine whether there exist differences in utilization of general practice between low income groups and citizens with higher income after adjustment for social and health-related factors Material and methods: Various registers from Statistics Denmark with information on all adult citizensof Odense Municipality in 2003-2005 are applied. Income is measured as equivalent disposable income and adjustment for social and health-related personal characteristics are conducted using Poisson regression.
Results: Poor with income below 73.000 DKK have 2-3 fewer contacts with general practice annually than those with an income of 73.000-146.000 DKK, depending upon age groups. The difference in contacts with general practice between the poor and those with a higher income is statistically significant. The difference is reduced to 1.5 fewer contacts after adjustment for differences in social and health-related characteristics. Conclusion: Poor adults have significantly fewer contacts with general practice than those with higher income. The difference is not explained by social and health-related factors. This is in contrast to results from earlier studies and may be an indication of underutilization of general practice. Other explanations may be that the poor enter the primary health sector through other channels, that the type and quality of contacts vary between income groups or that adjustment for health or other need indicators are not sufficient.
Keywords: Health care utilization, General Practice, Poverty, Social inequality
JEL Classification: I10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation