Can people afford to pay for health care? New evidence on financial protection in Germany (2018)

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This review is part of a series of country-based studies generating new evidence on financial protection in European health systems. Financial protection is central to universal health coverage and a core dimension of health system performance.

This review assesses the extent to which people in Germany experience financial hardship when they use health services, including medicines. Research shows that financial hardship is more likely to occur when public spending on health is low in relation to gross domestic product (GDP) and out-of-pocket payments account for a relatively high share of total spending on health (Xu et al., 2003; Xu et al., 2007; WHO, 2010). Increases in public spending or reductions in out-of-pocket payments are not, in themselves, a guarantee of better financial protection, however. Policy choices are also important.