The causal effect of free health insurance policy on the well-being and health care utilisation of Jordanian children

Yaylali, Ayse (2023) The causal effect of free health insurance policy on the well-being and health care utilisation of Jordanian children. International Journal of Health Economics and Policy. pp. 84-93. ISSN 2578-9295 (

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The provision of free health insurance can be considered as an essential step towards achieving Universal Health Coverage which is one of the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations. To achieve Universal Health Coverage, Jordan made the health insurance free for the children under the age of six in year 2002. The children lose the free health insurance eligibility on their seventh birthday. This health insurance policy provides eligible children with free health care at any hospital or health center embodied by the Ministry of Health. The paper estimates the causal effect of the Jordanian government’s free health insurance policy, which covers children under the age of six, on children’s health care utilisation, well-being, and development. To understand the causal impact of the policy on children’s well-being and health utilization behavior the paper employs the age-related Regression Discontinuity Design and uses 2017 Jordan Demographic Health Survey data. The results suggest that children under age six are 17 percentage points more likely to be insured. The increase in insurance coverage leads to more frequent hospital visits, a preference for private hospitals and an improvement in children's well-being. Although one might expect that health care spending would be significantly lower in the treatment group, the policy does not have a significant impact on health care spending. This can be explained by the fact that this group prefers to use private health care services in addition to public health care services due to the inefficient public health care system.