Author(s): Yasunaga H, Ide H, Imamura T, Ohe K
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The application of Willingness To Pay (WTP) measurement with Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) to medical services is gradually increasing. Knowing what influences WTP is an important matter because validity of CVM in medical services remains controversial. The objective of this survey is to measure WTP for the treatment of typical acute illnesses and to analyze the factors affecting WTP. METHODS: A questionnaire survey was conducted over the Internet, in which 795 men and women between 40 and 59 years old responded to questions about WTP for medical expenses in three hypothetical scenarios: common cold (CC), retinal detachment (RD) and myocardiac infarction (MI). RESULTS: Mean WTP was $29.9 for CC, $2,233 for RD, and $8,976 for MI. WTP for RD and MI was lower in the low-income group. While WTP for CC did not vary with income, WTP was higher in groups whose current subjective fitness levels were low. CONCLUSION: Although WTP measurements are criticized frequently for their validity and reliability, they are still useful for determining the economic value of medical services. Based on the results of this study, it is deemed necessary to enhance safety nets for low-income earners in regards to serious illnesses that incur high medical expenses. Further, it is recommended that the rate of co-payments be set relatively high with respect to mild illnesses for which alternative services are available.
This article was published in BMC Health Serv Res
and referenced in Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy