Expenditure on medical treatment has tended to rise as a proportion of national income throughout the European Union. A particular concern is that with an ageing population and therefore the prospect of more elderly persons, the pressures on expenditure for health care will increase further. The Ageing, Health Status and Determinants of Health Expenditure (AHEAD) project has aimed at refining existing estimates of the links between ageing, reported states of health and use of medical services.
This research report analyses the prevalence of good and poor health and the related use of medical services by individuals in different age groups in Hungary. The report describes morbidity owing to specific diseases (high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart attack, diabetes and anxiety/depression) in Hungary and identifies the social and economic factors behind good or poor health status. It goes on to outline health service utilisation by people in good or bad health and to analyse the influence of age and other factors on health status and service utilisation. The report further studies the use of health care resources by individuals not covered in household surveys.
The analysis relies on data collected by the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) in 2003. Data weights were devised to allow for an unbiased estimation of population variables. Associations between variables and differences across categories were examined using cross-tabulations and were assessed by Pearson’s Chi-square tests. To analyse influence, logistic regression models were built using a stepwise selection method with removal testing based on the likelihood ratio statistic.
According to historical data and predictions, the population of Hungary is ageing. Further, age has had a significant impact on the prevalence of selected diseases and self-reported health status. A significantly higher proportion of older persons reported that they were in bad health. Individuals with bad health were more likely to have had contact with health care services and to have had a greater number of visits. With these trends in population ageing, pressures for more expenditure on health care are likely to increase.