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Why is health treatment for the elderly less expensive than for the rest of the population? Health care rationing in Germany


  • Hilke Brockmann

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)


The consequences of population ageing for the health care system and health care costs may be less severe than is commonly assumed. Hospital discharge data from Germany’s largest health insurer (AOK) show that the care of patients during their last year of life is less costly if they die at an advanced age. As a multivariate analysis reveals, oldest old patients receive less costly treatment for the same illness than younger patients. Health care is informally rationed according to the age of the patient. The data also indicate that age-related rationing may be more pronounced in Germany than in the United States. (AUTHOR)

Suggested Citation

  • Hilke Brockmann, 2000. "Why is health treatment for the elderly less expensive than for the rest of the population? Health care rationing in Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2000-001, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2000-001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ayres, Philip J., 1996. "Rationing health care: Views from general practice," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1021-1025, April.
    2. Victor R. Fuchs, 1984. ""Though Much is Taken" -- Reflections on Aging, Health, and Medical Care," NBER Working Papers 1269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Varekamp, I. & Krol, L. J. & Danse, J. A. C., 1998. "Age rationing for renal transplantation? The role of age in decisions regarding scarce life extending medical resources," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 113-120, July.
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    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General


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