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Open Access Research article

Effects of health insurance on non-working married women’s medical care use and bed days at home

Changwoo Lee1 and Euichul Shin2*

Author Affiliations

1 Korea Insurance Research Institute, 35-4 Yoido, Youngdeungpo, Seoul 150-606, Korea

2 Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 137-701, Korea

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:243  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-243

Published: 1 July 2013



This study examines whether bed days are alternative methods to medical care use for treating a particular illness. If bed days at home are considered as an alternative to medical treatment, then medical care use and bed days at home should be influenced by an individual’s health insurance status.


This study uses data from the 2003 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) on medical care use and bed days at home for each contracted illness of non-working married women.


The results suggest that the health insurance status of non-working married women has considerable influence on their choice between medical care use and bed days at home. In addition, those with health insurance are more likely to use medical care and less likely to use bed days at home, but they tend to avoid the simultaneous use of medical care and bed days at home.


In contrast to previous studies’ findings indicating that absences from work and medical care use among working males may be complements, this study’s results for non-working married women without health insurance suggest that they use rest and medical treatment as substitutes, not complements.

Bed days at home; Medical care; Health insurance; Service use