Out-of-Pocket Health Expenditure and Savings Nexus: Evidence from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS
UNIVERSITY OF BOSTWANA
Borrowing, sale of assets and the use of current income and savings constitute the major sources of health care financing in West Africa. Consequently, a large proportion of health care financing in the sub region consists of Out of Pocket health expenditure. Specifically, between 2000 and 2016, Out of Pocket health care expenditure accounted for 50.2 percent of current health expenditure in ECOWAS. This phenomenon could have implications for achieving Universal Health Care as well as households’ capacity to save. This study employed the Panel Dynamic Ordinary Least Square to examine the relationship between Out of Pocket health expenditure and savings in ECOWAS. The empirical estimates of an endogenously derived savings model established that there exists a long run negative relationship between out of pocket health care expenditure and domestic savings rate in ECOWAS. Specifically, a one percent increase in Out of Pocket health expenditure is associated with a long run reduction in the savings rate by approximately 0.1 percentage points. The study, therefore, recommends that any agenda for increasing domestic savings in ECOWAS must necessarily incorporate a strategy for reducing the proportion of Out of Pocket health care payments in the region.