Copayment for health care services

Added May 9, 2020

Citation: Kiil A, Houlberg K. How does copayment for health care services affect demand, health and redistribution? A systematic review of the empirical evidence from 1990 to 2011. European Journal of Health Economics 2014; 15: 813–28

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare systems and resources. Existing research on copayment mechanisms for health care might provide useful information for policy makers.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for studies of the effects of user charges for healthcare services. They restricted their searches to articles published in Danish, English and Swedish from 1990 to December 2011. They included 47 studies, all of which were from high-income countries.

What was found: Most of the included studies found that copayment reduced the use of prescription medicine, consultations with general practitioners and specialists, and ambulatory care; thereby lowering healthcare costs.

Individuals with low income and in particular need of care generally reduced their healthcare use more than other people in consequence of copayment.

Copayment involves some important economic and political trade-offs

There was no significant effect of copayment on hospitalizations.


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