Geographical patterns of unmet health care needs in Italy
In recent years, health care reforms and restrained budgets have risen concerns about accessibility to health services, even in countries with universal coverage health systems. Previous studies have explored the issue by using objective event-oriented measures such as those related to utilization of health care. Analyzing access through subjective process-oriented indicators allows to better disentangle the process of seeking care, to investigate self-perceived barriers to health services and to account for differences in individual health care preferences. In this paper, data from the 2006 Italian component of the European Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) are used to explore reasons and predictors of self-reported unmet needs for specialist and/or dental care among adult Italians aged 18 and over. Results reveal different patterns across socio-economic groups and geographical macro-areas. Evidence of income-related inequalities and violations of the horizontal equity principle are also found both at a national and regional level. Policies to address unmet health care needs should adopt a multidimensional approach and be tailored so as to consider such heterogeneities.
Unmet health care needs; access to health care; inequality; inequity; Italy
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