METHODS AND FINDINGS: Key electronic databases including Medline, Embase, Scopus, Global Health, CinAHL, EconLit and Business Source Premier were searched. We also searched the grey literature, specifically websites of leading organizations supporting health care in LMICs. Only studies using benefit incidence analysis (BIA) and/or financing incidence analysis (FIA) as explicit methodology were included. A total of 512 records were obtained from the various sources. The full texts of 87 references were assessed against the selection criteria and 24 were judged appropriate for inclusion. Twelve of the 24 studies originated from sub-Saharan Africa, nine from the Asia-Pacific region, two from Latin America and one from the Middle East. The evidence points to a pro-rich distribution of total health care benefits and progressive financing in both sub-Saharan Africa and Asia-Pacific. In the majority of cases, the distribution of benefits at the primary health care level favoured the poor while hospital level services benefit the better-off. A few Asian countries, namely Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, maintained a pro-poor distribution of health care benefits and progressive financing.
CONCLUSION: Studies evaluated in this systematic review indicate that health care financing in LMICs benefits the rich more than the poor but the burden of financing also falls more on the rich. There is some evidence that primary health care is pro-poor suggesting a greater investment in such services and removal of barriers to care can enhance equity. The results overall suggest that there are impediments to making health care more accessible to the poor and this must be addressed if universal health coverage is to be a reality.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of the present study was to assess the ability to pay among Malaysian households as preparation for a future national health financing scheme.
METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study involving representative samples of 774 households in Peninsular Malaysia.
FINDINGS: A majority of households were found to have the ability to pay for their health care. Household expenditure on health care per month was between MYR1 and MYR2000 with a mean (standard deviation [SD]) of 73.54 (142.66), or in a percentage of per-month income between 0.05% and 50% with mean (SD) 2.74 (5.20). The final analysis indicated that ability to pay was significantly higher among younger and higher-income households.
CONCLUSIONS: Sociodemographic and socioeconomic statuses are important eligibility factors to be considered in planning the proposed national health care financing scheme to shield the needed group from catastrophic health expenditures.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted at the National Heart Institute of Malaysia involving 503 patients who were hospitalized during the year prior to the survey.
RESULTS: The mean annual out-of-pocket health spending for IHD was MYR3045 (at the time US$761). Almost 16% (79/503) suffered from catastrophic health spending (out-of-pocket health spending ≥40% of household non-food expenditures), 29.2% (147/503) were unable to pay for medical bills, 25.0% (126/503) withdrew savings to help meet living expenses, 16.5% (83/503) reduced their monthly food consumption, 12.5% (63/503) were unable to pay utility bills and 9.0% (45/503) borrowed money to help meet living expenses.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the economic impact of IHD on patients in Malaysia was considerable and the prospect of economic hardship likely to persist over the years due to the long-standing nature of IHD. The findings highlight the need to evaluate the present health financing system in Malaysia and to expand its safety net coverage for vulnerable patients.