Substance abuse treatment, prevention, and policy 2017 07 1712(1) 35 doi 10.1186/s13011-017-0119-0
Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) patients face unique costs associated with their healthcare expenditures. As such, it is important that these patients have access to health insurance (HI) to help them pay for both routine and unforeseen health services. In this study, we explored factors related to health insurance enrollment and utilization among MMT patients, to move Vietnam closer to universal coverage among this patient population.
A cross-sectional study was conducted with 1003 patients enrolled in MMT in five clinics in Hanoi and Nam Dinh provinces. Patients were asked a range of questions about their health, health expenditures, and health insurance access and utilization. We used multivariate logistic regressions to determine factors associated with health insurance access among participants.
The majority of participants (nearly 80%) were not currently enrolled in health insurance at the time of the study. Participants from rural regions were significantly more likely than urban participants to report difficulty using HI. Family members of participants from rural regions were more likely to have overall poor service quality through health insurance compared with family members of participants from urban regions. Overall, 37% of participants endorsed a lack of information about HI, nearly 22% of participants reported difficulty accessing HI, 22% reported difficulty using HI, and more than 20% stated they had trouble paying for HI. Older, more highly educated, and employed participants were more likely to have an easier time accessing HI than their younger, less well educated, and unemployed counterparts. HIV-positive participants were more likely to have sufficient information about health insurance options.
Our study highlights the dearth of health insurance utilization among MMT patients in northern Vietnam. It also sheds light on factors associated with increased access to and utilization of health insurance among this underserved population. These results can help improve health insurance enrollment among MMT patients, a population that is at increased need of financial assistance in accessing health services.