Objective: Immigrant populations have grown rapidly in recent years in many countries. Immigrant-related healthcare issues have thus become more and more important. The aim of this study was to assess any possible disparity in access to care between migrants and nationals under the national health insurance (NHI) system in Taiwan. Study design: Retrospective population-based observational study. Methods: National population-based data on patients aged ≥20 years in Taiwan under the NHI programme were studied. The frequency of use and expenditure on ambulatory care, inpatient care and emergency care were analysed separately. Ruptured appendicitis was also analysed as an outcome indicator for access to care. Logistic regression and two-part models were applied. Results: Overall, migrants had a lower rate of healthcare utilization than nationals, and this gap remained consistent from 1996 to 2001. However, using ruptured appendicitis as the outcome indicator, no significant overall difference in access to care was found between nationals and migrants under the NHI programme in Taiwan (odds ratio 1.01, 95% confidence interval 0.93∼1.11). Conclusion: This study found that although migrants had a lower rate of healthcare utilization than nationals, their rate of adverse outcome was similar to nationals when they faced an acute, non-selective emergency condition such as appendicitis. The findings suggest that the use of more dimensional indicators may help to avoid possible misleading inferences on the variation in access to health care in Taiwan.
- Access to care
- Healthcare utilization