The Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Utilization in Turkey


Uğur Z. B., Durak A.

Value in Health Regional Issues, vol.43, 2024 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 43
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.vhri.2024.101000
  • Journal Name: Value in Health Regional Issues
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, ASSIA, MEDLINE
  • Keywords: COVID-19, elderly, health insurance, healthcare utilization, patients with preexisting conditions
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Objectives: This study investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare utilization in Turkey. Methods: We utilized individual-level data derived from Turkish Statistical Institute's annual surveys between 2014 and 2022 and estimated probit regression models. Results: We find that COVID-19 pandemic reduced healthcare utilization by 11.8% after taking into account a large set of background variables. Although our study finds that the elderly and those with health problems are more likely to use healthcare services under normal circumstances, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused notable drops in the healthcare utilization among the elderly (−6.5%) and those with health problems (−3.8%). Although those without health insurance had lower utilization of healthcare services before the pandemic, during the pandemic they were not particularly hit. Conclusion: We conclude that the pandemic did not lower the healthcare utilization in Turkey because of the supply constraints. Also, the evidence points to the reduced demand due to the fear of contagion rather than financial concerns.