Background: In the last two decades, Chile has experienced advances in economical development and global health indicators. However, gender inequities persist in particular related to access to health services and financing of health insurance.
Aim: To examine gender inequities in the access to health care in Chile.
Material and methods: An analysis of data obtained from a serial national survey applied to assess social policies (CASEN) carried out by the Ministry of Planning. During the survey 45,379 and 48,107 dwellings were interviewed in 1994 and in 1998, respectively.
Results: Women use health services 1.5 times more often, their salaries are 30% lower in all socioeconomic strata. Besides, in the private health sector, women pay higher insurance premiums than men. Men of less than two years of age have 2.5 times more preventive consultations than girls. This difference, although of lesser magnitude, is also observed in people over 60 years. Women of high income quintiles and users of private health insurance have a better access to preventive consultations but not to specialized care.
Conclusions: An improvement in equitable access of women to health care and financing is recommended. Also, monitoring systems to survey these indicators for women should improve their efficiency.