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[afro-nets] In preparation of People's Health Assembly II - part 10


  • Subject: [afro-nets] In preparation of People's Health Assembly II - part 10
  • From: Claudio Schuftan <claudio@hcmc.netnam.vn>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 09:42:54 +0700
  • Cc:

In preparation of People's Health Assembly II - part 10
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Private Health Insurance in OECD Countries. The Benefits and
Costs for Individuals and Health Systems
From: Ruggiero, Mrs. Ana Lucia (WDC)

Private Health Insurance. The Benefits and Costs for Individuals
and Health Systems

Francesca Colombo and Nicole Tapay
OECD Health Working Paper No. 15, 2004
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris
Available online as PDF file at:
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/34/56/33698043.pdf

"...Governments often look to private health insurance (PHI) as
a possible means of addressing some health system challenges.
For example, they may consider enhancing its role as an alterna-
tive source of health financing and a way to increase system ca-
pacity, or promoting it as a tool to further additional health
policy goals, such as enhanced individual responsibility. In
some countries policy makers regard PHI as a key element of
their health coverage systems.

While private health insurance represents, on average, only a
small share of total health funding, it plays a significant role
in health financing in some OECD countries and it covers at
least 30% of the population in a third of the OECD members. It
also plays a variety of roles, ranging from primary coverage for
particular population groups to a supporting role for public
systems.

This paper assesses evidence on the effects of PHI in different
national contexts and draws conclusions about its strengths and
weaknesses. Private health insurance presents both opportunities
and risks for the attainment of health system performance goals.
For example, in countries where PHI plays a prominent role, it
can be credited with having injected resources into health sys-
tems, added to consumer choice, and helped make the systems more
responsive. However, it has also given rise to considerable eq-
uity challenges in many cases and has added to health care ex-
penditure (total, and in some cases, public) in most of those
same countries.