Health care utilisation in Europe: New evidence from the ECHP
The ECHP is used to analyse health care utilisation care in Europe. We estimate a new latent class hurdle model for panel data and compare it with the latent class NegBin model and the standard hurdle model. Latent class specifications outperform the standard hurdle model and the latent class hurdle model reveals income effects that are masked in the NegBin model. For specialist visits, low users are more income elastic than high users and the probability of using care is more income elastic than the conditional number of visits. The effects of income on total use of GPs are mostly negative or insignificant but positive elasticities are found for Austria, Greece and, to a greater extent, Portugal. On the whole, richer individuals tend to use more specialist care, especially in Portugal, Ireland, Finland, Greece and Austria. Features of the health care systems of these countries may contribute to the observed inequities.