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Choice in the German health care system

Riesberg A

EuroObserver 6(4):6-9


Lupe [1]
Lupe [2]

Germany’s plural health care system places a high emphasis on free choice of providers and insurers, coupled with a comparably high density of capacities and health care personnel that allow for ready access to ambulatory as well as inpatient care. In 2003, statutory health insurance (SHI) covered the majority (88%) of the 82.3 million inhabitants, private health Insurance (PHI) approximately 10%, specific free governmental care schemes another 2% and 0.2% were not covered by any third-party payer scheme.1 Choice of providers SHI-insurees basically have (SHIreimbursed) access to 99% of all beds in public or private hospitals which are contracted by sickness funds. SHIinsurees also have access to 95% of all ambulatory physicians who are accredited as SHI-affiliated physicians (competing with each other for patients while being a mandatory members of strictly regulated but self-governed regional physicians’ associations). The remaining 1% of hospital beds and 5% of officebased physicians are only accessible to private patients who have either PHI coverage or pay out-of-pocket.1 SHI-insured patients have free choice of, and direct access to, SHI-reimbursed care from most providers in ambulatory care, including SHI-affiliated...


  • 2004 EuroObserver vol.06.04 [3]
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