IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 6245: Determinants of Differences in Health Service Utilization between Older Rural-to-Urban Migrant Workers and Older Rural Residents: Evidence from a Decomposition Approach (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Background: The widening gap in health service utilization between different groups in mainland China has become an important issue that cannot be avoided. Our study explored the existence of differences and the causes of the differences in the health service utilization of older rural-to-urban migrant workers in comparison to older rural dwellers. Further, our study explored socioeconomic differences in health service utilization. Methods: The data from the China Labor-Force Dynamic Survey in 2016, the data from the Urban Statistical Yearbook in 2016, and the Statistical Bulletin were used. Our study applied the latest Andersen Model according to China’s current situation. Before we studied health service utilization, we used Coarsened Exact Matching to control the confounding factors. After matching, 2314 respondents were successfully matched (859 older rural-to-urban migrant workers and 1455 older rural dwellers). The Fairlie decomposition method was used to analyze the differences and the sources of health service utilization between older rural-to-urban migrant workers and their rural counterparts. Results: After matching, the probability two-weeks outpatient for older rural-to-urban migrant workers (5.59%) was significantly lower than older rural dwellers (7.57%). The probability of inpatient for older rural-to-urban migrant workers (5.59%) was significantly lower than older rural dwellers (9.07%). Overall, 17.98% of the total difference for two-week outpatient utilization was due to the observed influence factors. Moreover, 71.88% of total difference in inpatient utilization was due to the observed influence factors. Income quantiles (49.57%), health self-assessments (80.91%), and the sex ratio in the community (−102.29%) were significant in the differences in inpatient utilization. Conclusions: The findings provide important insights into the socioeconomic differences in health service utilization among older rural-to-urban migrant workers and older rural residents in China. These insights urge the government to take full account of the heterogeneity in designing health security system reform and public health interventions targeting vulnerable groups.