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[Journal:] Health Economics Review [ISSN:] 2191-1991 [Volume:] 9 [Issue:] 26 [Year:] 2019 [Pages:] 1-11
Springer, Heidelberg
Background: Risk attitudes influence decisions made under uncertainty. This paper investigates the association of risk attitudes with the utilization of preventive and general healthcare services, work absence and resulting costs to explore their contribution to the heterogeneity in utilization. Methods: Data of 1823 individuals (56.5 ± 9.5 years), participating in the German KORA FF4 population-based cohort study (2013/2014) were analyzed. Individuals' general and health risk attitude were measured as willingness to take risk (WTTR) on 11-point scales. Utilization of preventive and medical services and work absence was assessed and annual costs were calculated from a societal perspective. Generalized linear models with log-link function (logistic, negative-binomial and gamma regression) adjusted for age, sex, and height were used to analyze the association of WTTR with the utilizations and costs. Results: Higher WTTR was significantly associated with lower healthcare utilization (physician visits, physical therapy, and medication intake), work absence days and indirect costs. Regarding preventive services, an overall negative correlation between WTTR and utilization was examined but this observation remained non-significant except for the outcome medical check-up. Here, higher WTTR was significantly associated with a lower probability of participation. For all associations mentioned, Odds Ratios ranged between 0.90 and 0.79, with p < 0.05. Comparing the two risk attitudes (general and regarding health) we obtained similar results regarding the directions of associations. Conclusions: We conclude that variations in risk attitudes contribute to the heterogeneity of healthcare utilization. Thus, knowledge of their associations with utilization might help to better understand individual decision-making - especially in case of participation in preventive services.
Willingness to take risk
Healthcare utilization
Healthcare costs
Work absence
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