Background: This study focuses on out-of-pocket payments for health care in Serbia. In contrast to previous studies, we distinguish three types of out-of-pocket patient payments: official co-payments, informal (under-the-table) payments and payments for "bought and brought goods" (i.e. payments for health care goods brought by the patient to the health care facility).
Methods: We analyse the probability and intensity of three different types of out-of-pocket patient payments in the public health care sector in Serbia and their distribution among different population groups. We use data from the Serbian Living Standard Measures Study carried out in 2007. Out-of-pocket patients payments for both outpatient and inpatient health care are included. The data are analysed using regression analysis.
Results: The majority of health care users report official co-payments (84.7%) and payments for "bought and brought goods" (61.1%), whereas only 5.7% health care users declare that they have paid informally. Regarding the regression results, users with an income below the poverty line, those from rural areas and who are not married are more likely to report payments for "bought and brought goods, while young and more educated users are more likely to report informal patient payments.
Conclusion: Overall, the three types of out-of-pocket payments are not correlated. Payments for "bought and brought goods" take the highest share of the total annual household budget. Serbian policymakers need to consider different strategies to deal with informal payments and to eliminate the practice of "bought and brought goods".
- Informal patient payments
- Payments for "bought and brought goods"
- INFORMAL PATIENT PAYMENTS
- PUBLIC HOSPITALS