This paper estimates effects of long-term care (LTC) benefits on utilization of primary and secondary healthcare in Catalonia (Spain). Identification comes from plausibly exogenous variation in the leniency of LTC needs assessment. We estimate that receiving LTC benefits worth 365 euros per month, on average, reduces the probability of avoidable hospital admissions by 66%, and has no significant effect on planned hospitalisations nor on hospitalisation for any reason. Receiving LTC benefits is estimated to reduce unscheduled primary care visits by 44% and has no significant effect on scheduled visits. These findings have important policy implications suggesting that allocating resources to LTC may not only increase the welfare of LTC beneficiaries but also reduce avoidable and unscheduled utilisation of healthcare.
Journal of Health Economics