Former ISET faculty returns, discusses healthcare in Georgia
Monday, 24 June, 2019

Almost as soon as they are through the front doors, new arrivals to ISET are told that the institute is like a family, and it does not take long before the truth of these words is proved. ISET alumni frequently come back to visit, and not just to pay friendly visits to their old professors: many have gone on to work prestigious jobs in both the government and private sectors or earn PhDs in American and European universities, and so return to ISET to present on topics that will be of interest to the community, both old and new.

Yet this does not just apply to students – it is equally true for former faculty. Adam Pellillo, now of La Salle University in Philadelphia, worked at ISET for several years, and now happily returns to lecture as a visiting faculty member. On June 22, Adam came back to ISET to present his ongoing research project into health insurance coverage in Georgia.

Adam’s investigation into the effects of Georgia’s Universal Health Coverage Program (UHCP), which was introduced in 2013, has been conducted with assistance from UNICEF Georgia’s Welfare Monitoring Survey in the form of data. Specifically, Adam is examining how the UHCP has assisted in reducing medical costs for Georgian households, especially those which are newly insured.

The results so far indicate that the results of the UHCP’s implementation have been somewhat mixed. Overall, the findings suggest that the UHCP has been beneficial for the purpose of inpatient care (patients who are undergoing treatment in a hospital), especially when compared with the circumstances of prior years; in 2010, less than a third of the population of Georgia had some form of health insurance. However, the program was found to be less effective in terms of reducing costs for medicine to be taken at home. Therefore, while the UHCP is able to reduce costs early on for patients, it does not prevent catastrophic expenditures overall; the UHCP does not cover the expense of buying medicine from pharmacies. Adam explained that this is one of the main reasons that the ‘out-of-pocket’ share of health care spending is still high in the country.

As the research project is not yet finished, Adam explained that next, he would like to examine how the UHCP affected non-medicine spending on healthcare, as well as explore the differences between newly-insured and previously-insured households regarding outpatient utilization.

ISET would like to thank Adam for returning to the institute to present his findings and hopes to see him again once the project is complete.