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Socioeconomic Differences in Use of Public, Occupational and Private Health Care: A Register-Linkage Study of a Working-Age Population in Finland

Julkaistu 16.4.2020


There is little knowledge on socioeconomic differences in use of health care organized by different care schemes and on exclusive and concurrent use of health care at different schemes in different socioeconomic groups. In Finland, public, occupational and private schemes offer parallel outpatient primary health care services. Each scheme mainly reaches different population groups because of differences in availability, costs and gatekeeping. This study aimed to analyse how the probability of using health care organized by the three schemes differed by socioeconomic status in a working-age population. Individual-level register-based data on use of public, occupational and private outpatient primary health care during 2013 as well as data on sociodemographic covariates were linked for the total population aged 25-64 of the city of Oulu, Finland. Data were analysed with descriptive methods and multinomial logistic regression models. Those in the study population most often used only occupational care or only public care, or did not use any of the studied health care schemes at all. The lower the socioeconomic status, the higher was the probability of not using care or using only public care. The higher the socioeconomic status, the higher was the probability of using occupational care-either only occupational care or occupational care in combination with private care. Education, occupational class and income were all associated with care use also when adjusted for sociodemographic covariates and chronic disease, but income proved to be the strongest predictor of the three. The results reflect the design of the Finnish health care system, with a strong occupational health care scheme for the employed population contributing to inequality in use of health care and potentially to health inequality between socioeconomic groups.

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Jenni Blomgren, Lauri Virta

Lisätietoja julkaisusta

  • Vertaisarvioitu: kyllä.
  • Avoin saatavuus: kyllä.
  • Koko viite: Blomgren, J., & Virta, L. J. (2020). Socioeconomic differences in use of public, occupational and private health care: A register-linkage study of a working-age population in Finland. PloS one, 15(4), e0231792.

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