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The role of private medical insurance in socioeconomic inequalities in cancer screening uptake in the Republic of Ireland

Walsh, B., Siles, M. and O'Neill, C. (2012). The role of private medical insurance in socioeconomic inequalities in cancer screening uptake in the Republic of Ireland. Health Economics, 21, pp. 1250-1256. doi: 10.1002/hec.1784

Abstract

Screening is seen by many as a key element in cancer control strategies. Differences in uptake of screening related to socioeconomic status exist and may contribute to differences in morbidity and mortality across socioeconomic groups. While a number of factors are likely to underlie differential uptake, differential access to subsequent diagnostic tests and/or treatment may have a pivotal role. This study examines differences in the uptake of cancer screening in Ireland related to socioeconomic status. Data were extracted from SLÁN 2007 concerning uptake of breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancer screening in the preceding 12 months. Concentration indices were calculated by socioeconomic grouping and decomposed to identify the contribution to differential uptake of a range of variables. Particular emphasis was placed upon the impact of private health insurance, evidenced in other work to impact on access to care within the mixed public-private Irish health system. This study found that significant differences related to socioeconomic status exist with respect to uptake of cancer screening and that the main determinant of difference for breast, colorectal and prostate cancer screening was possession of private insurance. This may have profound implications for the design of cancer control strategies in countries where private insurance has a significant role, even where screening services are publicly funded and population-based.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Walsh, B., Siles, M. & O'Neill, C. (2012). The role of private medical insurance in socioeconomic inequalities in cancer screening uptake in the Republic of Ireland. Health Economics, 21, pp. 1250-1256., which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hec.1784. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Publisher Keywords: cancer; screening; private; insurance; Ireland
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Departments: School of Health Sciences
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/12142
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