BACKGROUND: Financial protection of household against the consequences of the health care expenditures is one of the most important functions of health care systems. The objective of this study was to determine the equity in health care payments and determining factors among households in Hamedan, a province in Iran.
METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, 772 families of patients, who were being discharged from hospitals in Hamedan, were selected for study by using a stratified random sampling method. Required data regarding households’ health and non-health expenditures were collected through World Health Organization standard questionnaire by interviews and observation method.
RESULTS: According to the findings, 20.7% of households experienced catastrophic health expenditure. The incidence of impoverishment due to out-of-pocket payments for health care was 2.8% among studied households. The highest incidence rate of out-of-pocket health payment indices occurred in the first quintile (poorest or Q1). Variables such as having members under 6 years or over 60 years in household, household size, employment of household head, households' income quintile, existence of the disabled member in households and the education level of the household’s head are the most important factors that affect the incidence of out-of-pocket health payment indices.
CONCLUSION: There is considerable inequity in health care financing as well as households' health payments. This requires designing and implementing the operative and protective programs for understanding the important factors that affect equity in health financing, especially for poor households, against the unexpected health expenditures through the health care system.