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19.05.2017 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 3/2018 Open Access

The European Journal of Health Economics 3/2018

Income disparities in healthcare use remain after controlling for healthcare need: evidence from Swedish register data on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis

The European Journal of Health Economics > Ausgabe 3/2018
Sofia Löfvendahl, Anna Jöud, Ingemar F. Petersson, Elke Theander, Åke Svensson, Katarina Steen Carlsson
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s10198-017-0895-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


We used a southern Swedish cohort of psoriasis (PSO) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) patients and population-based referents (N = 57,800) to investigate the influence of socioeconomic and demographic factors on the probability of healthcare use and on healthcare costs when controlling for need as measured by PSO/PsA and common additional morbidities such as diabetes, depression and myocardial infarction. People with PSO/PsA were identified by ICD-10 codes in the Skåne Healthcare Register 1998–2007. Resource use and costs for years 2008–2011 were retrieved from the Skåne Healthcare Register and the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register, and socioeconomic data were retrieved from Statistics Sweden. After controlling for PSO/PsA and common additional morbidities, income, and to some extent education, had significant effects on the probability of five types of healthcare use. Overall, income showed a bell-shaped relationship to healthcare costs, with patients in income quintiles 2 and 3 having the highest mean annualized cost irrespective of model specification. Education did not have a significant effect in most specifications. Analyses including interaction effects indicated similarly higher costs across income quintiles in the PSO and PsA subgroups, though these cost differences were lower in magnitude for patients with PSO in quintile 5 and with PsA in quintile 1. In conclusion, our results show persistent socioeconomic disparities in healthcare use among a cohort of chronically ill patients and referents, even after controlling for the presence of PSO/PsA and common additional morbidities. These disparities persist even in a country with general healthcare coverage and low out-of-pocket payments.

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