Differences in Perceived Waiting Time by Health Insurance Type in the Inpatient Sector: An Analysis of Patients With Breast Cancer in Germany.

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    • Abstract:
      Although the relationship between health insurance and waiting time has been established in the ambulatory sector in Germany, research in the inpatient sector is limited. This study aims to contribute to previous work through analyzing differences in perceived waiting time by health insurance type during the inpatient stays of patients with breast cancer in Germany. This study utilizes cross-sectional data from 2017 of patients with breast cancer (N = 4626) who underwent primary breast cancer surgery in a certified breast care center in Germany. Results from multilevel logistic regression models indicate a significant effect of health insurance status on perceived waiting time, net of other relevant factors (patient's sociodemographic background, Union for International Cancer Control stage, grading, self-reported and classified health, type of surgery, and chemotherapy). Patients with statutory insurance were significantly more likely than privately insured patients to report long waiting times for examinations/procedures, discharge, and to speak with the physician. There were no significant differences in waiting time for nursing staff between private and statutory insurance holders. Results align with previous findings in the ambulatory sector and suggest a private health insurance advantage, with private patients receiving priority to some health care services. Disparities in health care accessibility and quality need to continue to be addressed and discussed, as well as the impact of health insurance type on other indicators of health. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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