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Private Health Insurance in OECD Countries: The Benefits and Costs for Individuals and Health Systems


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  • Francesca Colombo
  • Nicole Tapay
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    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 alternative source of health financing and a way to increase system capacity, 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 across the OECD area, 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 ... Certains gouvernements voient dans l’assurance maladie privée un moyen de relever quelquesuns des défis liés aux systèmes de santé. Par exemple, certains envisagent de promouvoir son rôle de source de financement de substitution, de l’utiliser pour accroître les capacités du système, ou encore de la faire contribuer à la réalisation d’autres objectifs de la politique de santé, tels que le renforcement de la responsabilité individuelle. Dans certains pays, les décideurs considèrent l’assurance maladie privée comme un élément fondamental du système de couverture maladie. Bien que l’assurance maladie privée ne représente en moyenne qu’une petite fraction du financement total des dépenses de santé dans la zone OCDE, elle constitue dans quelques pays Membres un mode de financement important des soins et couvre au moins 30 pour cent de la population dans un tiers des pays de l’OCDE. Elle joue par ailleurs des rôles multiples, allant de l’octroi d’une couverture primaire à des ...

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    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Health Working Papers with number 15.

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    Date of creation: 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaad:15-en

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    Cited by:
    1. Randall Ellis & Elizabeth Savage, 2008. "Run for cover now or later? The impact of premiums, threats and deadlines on private health insurance in Australia," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 257-277, December.
    2. Facundo Sepulveda, 2006. "The Samaritan’s Dilemma and public health insurance," CEPR Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University 536, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    3. Hans Maarse & Yvette Bartholomée, 2007. "A public–private analysis of the new Dutch health insurance system," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 77-82, March.
    4. Søgaard, Rikke & Pedersen, Morten Saaby & Bech, Mickael, 2013. "To what extent does employer-paid health insurance reduce the use of public hospitals?," Health Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 61-68.
    5. Dormont, Brigitte & Geoffard, Pierre-Yves & Lamiraud, Karine, 2013. "Assurance maladie en Suisse : les assurances supplémentaires nuisent-elles à la concurrence sur l'assurance de base ?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/11294, Paris Dauphine University.
    6. Olga Siskou & Daphne Kaitelidou & Charalampos Economou & Peter Kostagiolas & Lycourgos Liaropoulos, 2009. "Private expenditure and the role of private health insurance in Greece: status quo and future trends," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 467-474, October.
    7. Pedersen, Kjeld Møller, 2011. "Sickness absence and voluntary employer paid health insurance," COHERE Working Paper 2011:4, COHERE - Centre of Health Economics Research, University of Southern Denmark.
    8. Kiil, Astrid, 2012. "What characterises the privately insured in universal health care systems? A review of the empirical evidence," Health Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 60-75.
    9. Oliva, M. & Carles, M., 2013. "Price dispersion in the private health insurance industry: The case of Catalonia," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 177-182.
    10. Kiil, Astrid, 2012. "Private health insurance and the use of health care services - a review of the theoretical literature with application to voluntary private health insurance in universal health care systems," COHERE Working Paper 2012:1, COHERE - Centre of Health Economics Research, University of Southern Denmark.
    11. Denis Drechsler & Johannes Jütting, 2005. "Is There a Role for Private Health Insurance in Developing Countries?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 517, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    12. Anne-Fleur Roos & Frederik Schut, 2012. "Spillover effects of supplementary on basic health insurance: evidence from the Netherlands," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 51-62, February.


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