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Andrej Srakar, Rok Hren and Valentina Prevolnik Rupel

Abstract

Background and Purpose: Chronic diseases and associated co-morbidities are highly prevalent among elderly and are associated with an increase in health services utilization which in turn raises health care expenditures throughout industrialized societies. However, health care utilization in elderly is still inadequately understood, particularly regarding the differences among European jurisdictions. In our article, we use dataset of Wave 5 of SHARE survey to study the utilization of health care in older Europeans in 15 European countries.

Design/Methodology/Approach: We investigate relationships between factors such as age, gender, income, education and health variables and the utilization of various types of health services. We apply regression modeling to study the determinants of health utilization (different socioeconomic and health variables) of older people.

Results: We show some significant differences between determinants of health utilization in terms of probability and frequency of usage. We also explore patterns between welfare regimes, taking Eastern European jurisdictions as a reference category. Finally, we show that in a simple causal model the provision of formal and/or informal homecare serves as a complement to utilization of health care services.

Conclusion: Results of our article are important for the management of health care facilities in terms of health care usage by older people, and can be of value to health care providers and policy makers in the field.