One of the studies in the July issue of Health Affairs examines the growing use of patient cost sharing in Europe during and after the recent economic recession. The study, by Raffaele Palladino and coauthors at Imperial College London, in the United Kingdom, used data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe to identify changes from 2006-07 to 2013 in out-of-pocket expenditures among people ages fifty and older in eleven European countries. They found significant increases in the incidence and size of out-of-pocket expenditures and the share of the population facing catastrophic health expenses in several of the countries (see chart below.)
"We found that people in poorer income quintiles were less likely to incur any out-of-pocket expenditure and reported lower mean out-of-pocket expenditure, compared to people in the highest income quintile," the authors noted. "This suggests that better financial protection from increasing health care costs exists among vulnerable populations than among the highest-income populations."
Also of interest in the July issue: "Private Sector An Important But Not Dominant Provider Of Key Health Services In Low- And Middle-Income Countries," by Karen Grépin of Wilfred Laurier University.
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