International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Conventional Health Care: Substitutes or Complements?
Vibha Bhargava, Gong-Soog Hong, Catherine P. Montalto

This study used Grossman’s model of demand for health to examine Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use by consumers in the U.S. Main objectives of this study were to identify the predictors of demand for CAM and to examine whether CAM and conventional care are economic substitutes or complements. Data used for this study were from the 2002 and the 2004 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Health insurance coverage for conventional care, presence of children under age 18 in household, hours of employment, wages, age, chronic conditions, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and risk tolerance predicted probability and level of CAM use. The positive cross-price elasticity of physician visits in chiropractic and acupuncture and/or massage model suggests substitution of CAM for conventional care. Implications for consumer well-being and health care policy are delineated.

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