Utilization of basic health units of FHS according to private health insurance
AbstractOBJECTIVE: To describe the utilization of basic health units according to coverage by discount card or private health insurance. METHODS: Household survey in the area covered by Family Health Strategy in Pelotas, state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, from December 2007 to February 2008, with persons of all age groups. The frequency of (medical or non-medical) healthcare seeking at the basic health units in the last six months and the prevalence of basic health unit utilization for the last medical consultation (in case it had been performed up to six months before, for a non-routine reason) were analyzed by Poisson regression adjusted for the sampling design. RESULTS: Of the 1,423 persons, 75.6% had no discount card or private health insurance. The average frequency of (medical or non-medical) healthcare seeking was 1.6 times in six months (95%CI 1.3–2.0); this frequency was 55.8% lower (p < 0.001) among privately insured persons compared to those with no discount card or private health insurance. Among the last medical consultations, 35.8% (95%CI 25.4–47.7) had been performed at the basic health units; this prevalence was 36.4% lower (p = 0.003) among persons covered by discount card and 87.7% lower (p = 0.007) among privately insured persons compared to those without both coverages. CONCLUSIONS: Private health insurance and, to a lesser degree, discount card coverage, are related to lower utilization of basic health units. This can be used to size the population under the accountability of each Family Health Strategy team, to the extent that community health workers are able to differentiate discount card from PHI during family registration.
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