The Consequences of unmet Health Care Needs during the first Wave of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Health


The first wave of the covid-19 pandemic led many people to have unmet health care needs, which could have detrimental effects on their health. This paper addresses the question of the effect of unmet needs during the first wave of the pandemic on health outcomes up to one year after. We combine two waves of the SHARE survey collected during the covid-19 pandemic (in June/July 2020 and 2021), as well as two waves collected before the pandemic. Our health outcomes are four dummy variables for having troubles with fatigue, falling, fear of falling and dizziness/faints/blackouts issues. Finally, we use an OLS regression with individual and time fixed effects for our difference-indifference analysis, as well as a doubly robust estimator to condition the parallel trend assumption on pre-pandemic covariates. We find substantial short-term effects on the probability of having troubles with fatigue and dizziness. We additionally observe that one year later, June/July 2021, having had unmet health care needs in 2020 increased the probability of having troubles for each of the health measures. We particularly find strong effects for general practitioner (GP) and specialist care

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