Out-Of-Pocket Health Expenditure Among the Elderly in Kenya

  •  Emmanuel Mulaa Opondo    
  •  Martine Odhiambo Oleche    


Financial risk protection against the burden of out-of-pocket health expenditure (OOPHE) by achieving universal health coverage (UHC) is a key health priority for developing countries. The elderly is a vulnerable demographic group that need this protection. This study sought to analyze how selected social and demographic factors affect OOPHE among the elderly in Kenya. Further, it aimed to determine the distribution of OOPHE among the various wealth quintiles in the elderly using a cross-sectional study. Data was sourced from the Kenya Household Health Expenditure and Utilization Survey (KHHEUS) 2013. The sample size (2,853) consisted of individuals ≥ 60 years who had utilized health services. A multiple regression model and concentration curves were applied. Increasing age, having chronic illnesses, male gender, higher education level, more wealth, possessing health insurance, increased distance, and a higher number of visits to the health facility positively affected OOPHE. These results were statistically significant (P < .050) for presence of chronic illnesses, increasing age, possessing a health insurance cover and being in the richest wealth quintile and insignificant for the rest. Moreover, concentration curves revealed that out-of-pocket (OOP) health payments were concentrated in the richest quintile individuals. Consequently, OOPHE is a regressive way of funding health care among the elderly. In conclusion, elderly persons need financial protection when seeking health care: achievable mainly through health reforms, especially the ones targeting health insurance.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.