Introduction: Today, the provision of healthcare should be efficient and equitable to achieve the health system’s goals. The aim of this study was to survey equality in healthcare expenditures and its effects on income redistribution.

Methods: This study was a descriptive-analysis, cross-sectional study that was conducted with data obtained from the Statistical Center of Iran (SCI) during 2006 and 2011. The source population and study population were the urban and rural residents of Iran and their households’ income and expenditures on health. The analysis was based on annually aggregated data from all provinces relative to their share of the total population. The data were collected using a pre-tested checklist consisting of two sections. The first section was used to retrieve data about total gross non-food expenditures of households. The second section retrieved out-of-pocket payments for healthcare. The data that were collected were analyzed using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The Kakwani index was used to measure the extent of the deviation from equity. The redistributive effect of healthcare costs was considered as the impact of healthcare payments on households’ income distribution.

Results: The overall Kakwani index during the fourth development program for urban households was progressive (OKI = 0.013), but it was regressive for rural households (OKI = -0.012). Healthcare payments had a negative effect on income redistribution in urban areas during the entire period of the study, and they had a positive effect in rural areas, except for the years 2010 and 2011, for which the effects were negative and non-existent, respectively.

Conclusion: By regarding the regressive Kakwani index and the negative effect of healthcare expenditures on income redistribution in some years, the government can use health grants, such as increasing health facilities and supplementary insurance, to increase the ability of households to deal with the cost of developing a remedy and reducing health inequalities.


Keywords: Kakwani index, Gini index, Development program, Healthcare, Households
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