Health insurance doesn't seem to discourage prevention among diabetes patients in Colombia

Antonio J. Trujillo, Andres Ignacio Vecino Ortiz, Fernando Ruiz Gómez, Laura C. Steinhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In the South American nation of Colombia, as elsewhere, patients with type 2 diabetes often avoid care that could prevent their condition from worsening. Availability of health insurance may play a role in explaining this behavior. Some patients with diabetes skip preventive measures because they have insurance and calculate that they can access curative services later in life. Insurers may limit preventive services coverage because they can't be assured of sharing in the eventual savings that emerge when a chronic condition such as diabetes is managed properly. Our analysis of a nationally representative sample of Colombians who have type 2 diabetes and who pay premiums into the country's "contributory" insurance program, found no evidence that insurance influences those individuals to avoid preventive services. The evidence is less clear for those participating in a different, fully subsidized insurance program, who-despite the availability of preventive care-are no more likely to seek preventive visits than are uninsured patients. We propose controlled experiments to identify and measure the true causal effects of insurance on prevention and, more broadly, steps to increase patients' understanding of the benefits of prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2180-2188
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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