Research in Progress (RIP): "The Impact of Health Insurance on Survival: Evidence from NCMS in Rural China"



Date and Time

March 30, 2016 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

FSI Contact

Nicole Feldman

Please note: All research in progress seminars are off-the-record. Any information about methodology and/or results are embargoed until publication.


The United Nations endorses universal health coverage (UHC) as part of the Sustainable Development Goals as a mechanism to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all,” yet evidence about the impact of coverage on health in lower- and middle-income countries is limited. For example, if UHC improves survival then China’s dramatic expansion of health insurance coverage in rural areas since 2003 would have been expected to reduce mortality, especially among the rural poor; yet such impacts have not been found in research to date. 

We study whether insurance expansion played a causal role in adult mortality reductions in rural China. Our analysis uses Disease Surveillance Point (DSP) system data on age-standardized death rates per 1,000 population from 72 rural counties. We utilize differences across counties in the timing of the introduction of NCMS between 2004 and 2012 to show that NCMS reduced ischaemic heart disease mortality among elderly rural Chinese, with the most pronounced effects among men.

In collaboration with Maigeng Zhou, Shiwei Liu, Kate Bundorf, Sen Zhou