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Rev Saude Publica. 2014 Aug;48(4):632-41.

Socioeconomic inequality in catastrophic health expenditure in Brazil.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

Author information

1
Centro de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, SC, Brasil.
2
Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, RS, Brasil.
3
Departamento de Medicina Social, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, RS, Brasil.
4
Diretoria de Estudos Setoriais, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada, Brasília, DF, Brasil.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To analyze the evolution of catastrophic health expenditure and the inequalities in such expenses, according to the socioeconomic characteristics of Brazilian families.

METHODS:

Data from the National Household Budget 2002-2003 (48,470 households) and 2008-2009 (55,970 households) were analyzed. Catastrophic health expenditure was defined as excess expenditure, considering different methods of calculation: 10.0% and 20.0% of total consumption and 40.0% of the family's capacity to pay. The National Economic Indicator and schooling were considered as socioeconomic characteristics. Inequality measures utilized were the relative difference between rates, the rates ratio, and concentration index.

RESULTS:

The catastrophic health expenditure varied between 0.7% and 21.0%, depending on the calculation method. The lowest prevalences were noted in relation to the capacity to pay, while the highest, in relation to total consumption. The prevalence of catastrophic health expenditure increased by 25.0% from 2002-2003 to 2008-2009 when the cutoff point of 20.0% relating to the total consumption was considered and by 100% when 40.0% or more of the capacity to pay was applied as the cut-off point. Socioeconomic inequalities in the catastrophic health expenditure in Brazil between 2002-2003 and 2008-2009 increased significantly, becoming 5.20 times higher among the poorest and 4.17 times higher among the least educated.

CONCLUSIONS:

There was an increase in catastrophic health expenditure among Brazilian families, principally among the poorest and those headed by the least-educated individuals, contributing to an increase in social inequality.

PMID:
25210822
PMCID:
PMC4181092
DOI:
10.1590/s0034-8910.2014048005111
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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