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Health Policy. 2007 Dec;84(2-3):210-9. Epub 2007 May 7.

Hospitalisation among the elderly in urban China.

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Ministry of Health, Beijing, China.



The aim of this study was to examine the trend of hospitalisation amongst the elderly in urban China and analyse the main socio-economic factors which are affecting the use of inpatient care.


Data from the Chinese national household health interview surveys conducted in 1993, 1998 and 2003 were analysed. The following variables were selected: gender, health insurance coverage and household income.


Elderly people with insurance are more likely to use inpatient services than those who were not insured. Elderly people in the low income group are less likely than ones in the high income group to use inpatient services. Non-hospitalisation is more common amongst elderly women than elderly men and amongst the non-insured. The likelihood of elderly people in the low income groups not using inpatient services has increased dramatically from 12% in 1993 to 134% in 2003. Financial difficulty appeared to be the most common reason for not accessing inpatient care, particularly for elderly people without health insurance.


Elderly people with low income, without health insurance, and women appear to be more vulnerable in their access to inpatient care. Appropriate policies could be developed to protect these groups of people from high health care expenses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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