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Private Health Insurance in OECD Countries

image of Private Health Insurance in OECD Countries

This report provides the first-ever comparative analysis of the role and performance of private health insurance (PHI) in OECD countries. It analyses PHI markets and identifies policy issues arising from their interdependence with publicly financed health coverage schemes. The report assesses the impact of PHI against health policy objectives, paying special attention to the challenges and benefits associated with different insurance mixes. The analysis identifies strengths as well as areas where private health insurance might pose challenges to health system performance. This report shows how governments can help ensure that PHI markets make a positive contribution to the performance of health systems. Examples of useful practices for developing more efficient and equitable health insurance markets are also presented.

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The Impact of Private Health Insurance on Health System Performance

This chapter aims to: 1) assess the impact of PHI on health systems and their performance; 2) identify the factors explaining the variation in performance across different systems of financing health care and across PHI markets. It does this by seeking answers to the following questions: How does PHI affect access to health services and timely care across people with different levels and types of health insurance coverage? What is PHI’s influence on the equity of health financing? What is PHI’s role in health system choice of provider and benefits? Do private insurers have a role in promoting innovation in health care and, if so, how? Have insurers implemented activities to improve health care quality? How does PHI affect health system expenditure? What implications does PHI have for health system cost-efficiency?

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