Catastrophic risk associated with out-of-pocket payments for long term care in Spain.
Pozo-Rubio, Raúl del
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Objectives: This study analyses the financial burden associated with the introduction of copayment for long-term care (LTC) in Spain in 2012 for dependent individuals. Material and methods: We analyse and identify households for which the dependency-related out of-pocket payment exceeds the defined catastrophic threshold (incidence), and the gap between the copayment and the threshold for the catastrophic copayment (intensity), for the full population sample and for subsamples based on the level of long-term care dependency and on regional characteristics (regional income and political ideology of party ruling the region). Results: The results obtained show there is a higher risk of impoverishment due to copayment among rel atively well-off dependents, although the financial burden falls more heavily on less well-off households. Our findings also reveal interesting regional patterns of inequity in financing and access to long-term care services, which appear to be explained by an uneven development of LTC services (monetary transfers versus formal services) and varying levels of copayment across regions. Conclusions: The new copayment for long-term care dependency in Spain is an important factor of catas trophic risk, and more attention should be addressed to policies aimed at improving the progressivity of out-of-pocket payments for LTC services within and between regions. In addition, formal services should be prioritised in all regions in order to guarantee equal access for equal need.