Life Satisfaction of Older Chinese: The Role of Health and Health Insurance

ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) Working Paper No. 2019/16

31 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2019

See all articles by Sisi Yang

Sisi Yang

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR)

Katja Hanewald

UNSW Sydney - School of Risk & Actuarial Studies and ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR)

Date Written: October 25, 2019

Abstract

The Chinese government has launched a series of health reforms to establish universal health insurance coverage, particularly for vulnerable groups, including older adults. However, the current public health insurance system is highly fragmented, consisting of different programs with different levels of premiums and benefits. We analyse whether the universal health insurance system increases the life satisfaction of middle-aged and older Chinese people and to what extent the type of health insurance affects the life satisfaction of this group. Our study is based on data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative longitudinal survey of Chinese aged 45 and above, in 2011, 2013, and 2015. We find that the life satisfaction of middle-aged and older adults does not depend on having any health insurance coverage but varies with the type of health insurance coverage, controlling for potential confounding variables such as health status, occupation, hukou status, education, and other demographic variables. Individuals covered by the most generous program, the Government Medical Insurance, reported a higher life satisfaction. In comparison, individuals covered by the Urban Employee Medical Insurance, the Urban Resident Medical Insurance, and the New Rural Cooperative Scheme reported a lower life satisfaction by 0.155, 0.106, and 0.112 standard deviations, respectively. Our results suggest that establishing a more equitable health insurance system should be the next step in health reforms in China.

Keywords: Life Satisfaction, Health Insurance, Older Adults, Health, China

Suggested Citation

Yang, Sisi and Hanewald, Katja, Life Satisfaction of Older Chinese: The Role of Health and Health Insurance (October 25, 2019). ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) Working Paper No. 2019/16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3476458

Sisi Yang (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) ( email )

Kensington
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Katja Hanewald

UNSW Sydney - School of Risk & Actuarial Studies and ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) ( email )

School of Risk & Actuarial Studies
UNSW Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales NSW 2052
Australia

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