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Can People Afford to Pay for Health Care? New Evidence on Financial Protection in Finland

Julkaistu 1.1.2021


This review is part of a series of country-based studies generating new evidence on financial protection in health systems in Europe. Financial protection is central to universal health coverage and a core dimension of health system performance. The incidence of catastrophic health spending in Finland is relatively high compared to other Nordic countries. It is driven mainly by out-of-pocket payments for outpatient medicines, followed by outpatient care and dental care. Unmet need for health and dental services is also more prevalent in Finland than in many other countries in western Europe. The factors that undermine access and financial protection, with a disproportionate impact on poorer and older households, include: long-standing issues in the governance of coverage policy – multiple and overlapping coverage schemes, combined with regional variation in waiting times and co-payments, favour people in work and wealthier households; complex and heavy co-payments for almost all health services, with inadequate protection mechanisms; gaps in coverage and weaknesses in purchasing outpatient medicines; and relatively low levels of public investment in health. To reduce unmet need and financial hardship, policy should focus on limiting co-payments for outpatient care, especially primary care; improving protection from all co-payments for poorer households and people with high need for health care; and strengthening supply-side policies to promote better prescribing, dispensing and use of medicines.

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Jussi Tervola, Katri Aaltonen, Fanny Tallgren

Lisätietoja julkaisusta

  • Vertaisarvioitu: kyllä.
  • Avoin saatavuus: kyllä.
  • Koko viite: Tervola, J., Aaltonen, K., & Tallgren, F. (2021). Can people afford to pay for health care? New evidence on financial protection in Finland. WHO Regional Office for Europe.

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