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Voluntary Supplementary Health Insurance in Denmark

PFM, Vol. 5 No. 4, (2005)

About 40% of the Danish adult population carry some kind of voluntary health insurance, far
more than in the other Scandinavian countries. This somewhat paradoxical situation in a tax
financed system with large free and equal access is analysed, both from the demand and the
supply side. Based on a representative year 2000 survey the determinants of insurance coverage
and the effects on utilization of holding VHI is analysed statistically. There are few statistically
significant gradients distinguishing insured from non-insured. The theoretically expected effects of
insurance are observed. On the supply side the widespread VHI, in particular those covering
elective surgery, have not been sufficient to develop a sustainable and significant private for-profit
hospital sector.

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