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.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.

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