Private Health Insurance Around The World May Be Making Health Care Problems WorseThe Economist offers an analysis of private insurance around the world. "Governments are increasingly turning to private insurance in order to widen access to health care and make it more efficient. Are they expecting too much?"
Private health insurance varies greatly by country. "In America, the Netherlands and Germany, it provides primary coverage for those not on government schemes. In Australia, Britain, Ireland and New Zealand, private insurers duplicate the coverage of state-run health systems, usually offering perks like better service or shorter queues. In many countries, notably France, complementary private cover is used to top up official schemes, for example by covering out-of-pocket payments."
The Economist continues: "Governments want to spur private insurance in the hope of solving three big problems bedevilling their national systems of health care: inadequate access to care; soaring costs; and a paucity of innovation." The goal is to "improve their citizens' health without draining more public finances. "The evidence so far suggests that relying on private insurance may help in some respects. But it will not solve all these problems, and may even be making some of them worse" (2/18). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.