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Examining Swiss, Dutch Health Systems

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

"The Swiss and Dutch Health Insurance Systems: Universal Coverage and Regulated Competitive Insurance Markets," Commonwealth Fund: A new CWF study found that policies in Switzerland and the Netherlands intended to ensure universal coverage and low administrative costs could help inform U.S. health care reform efforts.

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According to the study, the systems in both countries are similar to the Massachusetts universal coverage law. The countries both cover all but 1% of their population -- compared with the U.S., where 15% of the population is uninsured -- because of individual mandates to purchase health insurance and premium assistance for low-income citizens. In addition, both countries spend about 5% of health care costs on administrative costs, compared with 7% in the U.S.

The study also points to other policies that the U.S. could emulate, including national standards for basic coverage for private insurance, which guarantees benefits are comprehensive for acute care services; tight regulation of basic health insurance markets, which lead to low overhead costs; and risk equalization systems that help reduce incentives for insurers to collect healthier enrollees (Leu et al., Commonwealth Fund, 1/16).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.