Equity in access to care in the era of health system reforms in Turkey


Health Policy, vol.122, no.6, pp.645-651, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 122 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2018.03.016
  • Journal Name: Health Policy
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.645-651
  • Keywords: Turkey, Access to health care, Unmet healthcare needs, Universal health coverage, Full interaction model, UNIVERSAL, COVERAGE
  • Lokman Hekim University Affiliated: No


© 2018 Elsevier B.V.Objective: To evaluate access to healthcare from an equity perspective on the way toward Universal Health Coverage in Turkey. Methods: The country representative data from 2006 to 2013 Turkey Income and Living Conditions Surveys were analyzed. Private household residents aged fifteen and older were asked for self-reported unmet need for medical care in the past twelve months. The dependent variable had three categories: no unmet need, unmet need due to cost, and unmet need due to availability (waiting list and distance problems). Predictors of unmet need were assessed by a multinomial logistic regression analysis. Findings: The prevalence of unmet need declined between 2006 and 2013. While educational inequalities in declared unmet need also decreased, the income gradient becomes more important. In 2013, controlling for other factors, the propensity to report unmet need was 10 times higher for those in the poorest-income quintile compared to the richest (versus 7 times in 2006). Conclusion: Overall access to healthcare has gradually improved in Turkey in the health reform process, but 9% of people still declared unmet need due to cost in 2013, after the implementation of Universal Health Insurance. This was nearly four times the EU average. Unfavourable economic and labour market conditions can be challenges for effective universal health coverage.