Paying more for faster care? Individuals' attitude toward price-based priority access in health care
Social Science & Medicine , Volume 84 p. 119- 128
Increased competition in the health care sector has led hospitals and other health care institutions to experiment with new access allocation policies that move away from traditional expert based allocation of care to price-based priority access (i.e., the option to pay more for faster care). To date, little is known about individuals' attitude toward price-based priority access and the evaluation process underlying this attitude. This paper addresses the role of individuals' evaluations of collective health outcomes as an important driver of their attitude toward (price-based) allocation policies in health care.The authors investigate how individuals evaluate price-based priority access by means of scenario-based survey data collected in a representative sample from the Dutch population (N = 1464). They find that (a) offering individuals the opportunity to pay for faster care negatively affects their evaluations of both the total and distributional collective health outcome achieved, (b) however, when health care supply is not restricted (i.e., when treatment can be offered outside versus within the regular working hours of the hospital) offering price-based priority access affects total collective health outcome evaluations positively instead of negatively, but it does not change distributional collective health outcome evaluations. Furthermore, (c) the type of health care treatment (i.e., life saving liver transplantation treatment vs. life improving cosmetic ear correction treatment - priced at the same level to the individual) moderates the effect of collective health outcome evaluations on individuals' attitude toward allocation policies.For policy makers and hospital managers the results presented in this article are helpful because they provide a better understanding of what drives individuals' preferences for health care allocation policies. In particular, the results show that policies based on the " paying more for faster care" principle are more attractive to the general public when treatment takes place outside the regular working hours of a hospital.
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Benning, T.M, & Dellaert, B.G.C. (2013). Paying more for faster care? Individuals' attitude toward price-based priority access in health care. Social Science & Medicine, 84, 119–128. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.02.002