The paper estimates the effect of the abolition of user charges for outpatient care (30 CZK/1.2 EUR) in 2009 on the demand for ambulatory doctor visits in the Czech Republic. The r eform a pplied only to children, which enabled us to take the difference-in-differences approach. Children constitute a treatment group, whereas adults serve as a control group. Besides the treatment effect, we control also for a number of personal characteristics using a micro-level data (EU-SILC). We estimate two models: Multinomial logit (MNL) and Zero-inflated negative binomial (ZINB). The effect of the abolition of user charges on the number of doctor visits proved insignificant suggesting that either the demand for this type of care is indeed inelastic, user charges were set too low or the people have not changed their behavior yet. On the contrary, we found that personal income, the number of household members and sex significantly influence the number of visits to the doctor. Two robustness checks using restricted samples confirms the results.
co-payments outpatient care Czech Republic natural experiment Zero-inflated negative binomial (ZINB) model Multinomial logit (MNL) model