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• The present study focuses on the health expenditure of Greek households over the period 2004-2005. The analysis is based on the latest wave of the Household Expenditure Survey of the National Statistical Service of Greece.
• For the first time, poor and rich household private and public health expenditure patters are identified and analyzed.• Households with mild economic distress i.e., homeowners that own their prime residence and do not have to pay a mortgage, spend more for health than those who pay a mortgage. This is regardless of the public or private nature of health expenditure.
• Poor households spend for health when it becomes more sensitive due to ageing. In contrast, the relatively wealthier households can afford to spend for health at a younger age.