Can Health Insurance Improve Health and Reduce Mortality? Evidence from the Seguro Popular Program in Mexico

Susan Parker, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE)
Joseph Saenz, University of Texas at Galveston
Rebeca Wong, University of Texas at Galveston

Social security in Mexico has historically provided health benefits to only a fraction of the population in Mexico, those participating in the formal sector. To address this lack of basic health coverage, the Mexican government began the health insurance program Seguro Popular in 2002-2003. Since then, the Seguro Popular has expanded at an impressive rate, this health insurance program now covers approximately 51 million individuals, nearly half of the population of Mexico. Several previous studies of the Seguro Popular have demonstrated that the program has significant effects on improving health usage indicators, including clinic and doctor visits, reducing catastrophic expenditures and increasing diagnostic tests and treatment. This paper uses the Mexican Health and Aging Survey to analyze whether these positive impacts of the program on utilization and increases in treatment are now leading to an effect on actual health outcomes and on mortality after a decade of the program.

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Presented in Session 43: Health Insurance, Health Care Use, and Health