Mexico's new health insurance program, Seguro Popular,
which was created to extend health
insurance to the nation's 50 million uninsured by 2010, is
having a positive effect on coverage of
antihypertensive treatment in that country, according to a
study published in the Oct. 27 issue of
British Medical Journal.
Results of the study show that adults insured through
Seguro Popular are significantly more
likely to receive treatment for hypertension and
significantly more likely to have their blood pressure
controlled than those without health insurance.
"Lack of health insurance has been consistently
identified as a key obstacle to hypertension
treatment, and Mexico is among the last of the OECD
[Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development] countries to guarantee health insurance for
all of its citizens," said Sara N. Bleich, lead
author of the study and an assistant professor in the Johns
Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public
of Health Policy and Management. Bleich conducted the
completing her doctoral degree at Harvard University. "The
odds of receiving antihypertensive
treatment were 50 percent higher for those insured through
Seguro Popular than [for] those without
The study also showed that those insured through the
program had 35 percent higher odds of
receiving treatment with blood pressure control compared to
the uninsured. In addition, the impact of
Seguro Popular was greatest in regions of Mexico where
there were higher concentrations of health
According to Bleich, hypertension affects more than 9
million adults in Mexico. It is a risk
factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke, which are
among the leading causes of death in that
country. Treatment of the disease will cost Mexico an
estimated $3 billion this year.
For the study, the researchers examined national
health data from 1,065 uninsured adults and
compared them to an equal number of adults covered through
Seguro Popular. The participants were
selected from a group of 4,032 adults with hypertension.
"Compared with the uninsured, those insured with
Seguro Popular had higher rates of coverage
for antihypertensive treatment and blood pressure control.
The success of Seguro Popular should
serve as an example to other developing countries looking
to provide health insurance to its citizens,"