Health policies and data

Private Health Insurance


THE OECD Study on Private Health Insurance

The OECD Study on Private Health Insurance was completed between 2001 and 2004. The work was carried out jointly by the Health Division of the Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs and the Insurance Committee of the Directorate for Fiscal and Financial Affairs. The final report, Private Health Insurance in OECD Countries, was released in November 2004.

The role of private health insurance can vary considerably across OECD countries, due to the historical, political and market factors that have influenced the development of health systems. The study assesses the role that private health insurance (PHI) plays in OECD member countries. The main aims of the study were:

  • To identify policy issues arising from the interdependence of private health insurance with public health coverage schemes;
  • To assess mixed models of private/public health insurance against health policy objectives;
  • To assess the impact of governmental regulation on health systems performance;
  • To analyse the challenges and benefits related to private health insurance in different insurance mixes, and the preconditions for the development of an efficient and equitable health insurance market.

The main policy questions addressed have included:

  • What is the impact of PHI markets and different insurance mixes on equity in the health system?
  • What risks and opportunities does PHI pose to cost pressures on health systems?
  • How does PHI improve responsiveness of health systems?
  • What regulatory mechanisms and financial incentives can deliver equity, efficiency, and responsiveness from different insurance mixes and PHI markets?

Key publications from the OECD study on Private Health Insurance (2001-2004)

The OECD completed a three-year study on private health insurance in 2004. The following reports were released as part of the study:



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