Iran’s Health Reform Plan: Measuring Changes in Equity Indices
Background: Two years after the implementation of the Health Sector Evolution Plan (HSEP), this study evaluated the effects of the plan on health equity indices.
Methods: The main indices assessed by the study were the Out-of-Pocket (OOP) health expenditures, the Fairness in Financial Contribution (FFC) to the health system index, the index of households’ Catastrophic Health Expenditure (CHE) and the headcount ratio of Impoverishing Health Expenditure (IHE).
Results: The per capita share of costs for total health services has been decreased. The lowered costs have been more felt in rural areas, generally due to sharp decrease in inpatient costs. Per capita pay for outpatient services is almost constant or has slightly increased. The reform plan has managed to improve households’ Catastrophic Health Expenditure (CHE) index from an average of 2.9% before the implementation of the plan to 2.3% after the plan. The Fairness in Financial Contribution (FFC) to the health system index has worsened from 0.79 to 0.76, and the headcount ratio of Impoverishing Health Expenditure (IHE) index deteriorated after the implementation of plan from 0.34 to 0.50.
Conclusion: Considerable improvement, in decreasing the burden of catastrophic hospital costs in low income strata which is about 26% relative to the time before the implementation of the plan can be regarded as the main achievement of the plan, whereas the worsening in the headcount ratio of IHE and FFC are the equity bottlenecks of the plan.
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