Document Type : Original Article
Department of Social Work & Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
Social Policy Institute, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA
Department of Social Work, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
Evidence of the impact of long-term care insurance (LTCI) on health and well-being has predominantly come from developed countries. China officially launched its city-level LTCI policy in 2016. Recent evidence in China has shown that having an LTCI program contributes to positive health. However, it is unclear whether such positive policy effects were attributed to policy announcement or implementation effects, and whether the policy effects vary by locality, chronic conditions, and their intersectionality. This study examines whether there are longitudinal health benefits for older Chinese who are participating in LTCI, particularly considering their city location (urban/rural), whether they have chronic conditions, and the intersectionality.
Following the Andersen Behavioral Model, health and satisfaction outcomes of 9253 adults aged 60+ years were extracted from the 2015 and 2018 waves of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS). Individual data were linked to census socioeconomic data with city-level characteristics and LTCI policy variable. Multilevel lagged regression models investigated the impact of LTCI policy on health and satisfaction with health services, after controlling for baseline individual- and city-level covariates.
Of 125 cities in the dataset, 21 (16.8%) had adopted LTCI. These city inhabitants had significantly better selfrated health and higher satisfaction relative to cities without LTCI policies when environmental- and personal-level characteristics were modeled. Health benefits of LTCI were stronger after policy announcement and were particularly observed among rural older adults and those with chronic conditions. Results also suggest that LTCI’s positive effects on satisfaction spill over to middle-aged adults.
Expanding coverage and eligibility to LTCI for all older Chinese could improve health and well-being.