A Brief Insight into the Study of Informal Health Care Payments in Romania

Marius Ionuţ UNGUREANU, Cristian Marius LITAN, Ioana Andreea RUS, Răzvan Mircea CHERECHEŞ


Informal health care payments are a frequently studied topic in Eastern European health care systems, given their impact on the financing of the health care sector. The Romanian health care system is facing the issue of informal payments for a long period. However, little evidence exists regarding the dimension of these payments, or the stakeholders’ attitudes towards them. This article aims at identifying people’s sources of informal payments, as well as their perceptions about the settings where informal payments are offered. Data were collected by means of a telephonic interview. 1,500 individuals who were part of a nationally representative sample were interviewed, out of which, for the present article, a subsample of 647 respondents was extracted. To serve this purpose, a 5-part questionnaire was developed by the research team. The amount of money offered as informal payments varied between 2 and 3,000 Euros. Out of the total sample population, 44.2% believe that in the inpatient surgery care services gifts are offered most frequently, while 55.31% of respondents place inpatient surgery care as being the place where highest amounts of money are given. This may represent a threat for people’s access to this type of services, as well as for the equity of care across different socio-economic categories. As such, policies aimed at addressing informal payments should take into account these particularities.


informal payments; policies; public facilities; private facilities; health care system.

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