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Social differences in health care utilisation and costs in the Netherlands 2003

Publiekssamenvatting

Ieder jaar wordt in Nederland veel geld uitgegeven aan de gezondheidszorg. In 2003 ging het om een bedrag van 57,5 miljard euro. De serie Zorg voor euro's beschrijft waaraan dit geld werd uitgegeven, hoeveel gezondheid we ervoor hebben teruggekregen en ook hoe de zorguitgaven zich in de toekomst zullen ontwikkelen. Dit rapport laat in detail zien hoe gebruik en kosten van zorg in Nederland samenhangen met de sociaal-economische positie, de samenlevingsvorm en het land van herkomst van mensen. Zo blijkt dat mensen uit lagere sociaal-economische groepen aanzienlijk meer zorg gebruiken dan mensen uit andere groepen. Dit verschil komt vooral doordat mensen in lagere sociaal-economische groepen meer gezondheidsproblemen hebben. Tegelijkertijd blijken mensen uit deze groepen bij ziekte ook langer beroep te doen op zorgvoorzieningen. Dit betekent dat de bestrijding van gezondheidsachterstanden een bijdrage kan leveren aan de beheersing van de zorguitgaven.

Synopsis

Within the Netherlands, there are substantial social inequalities in care consumption and health care costs. People differ in terms of their use of care facilities. This is influenced by factors such as their socio-economic position, mode of cohabitation and country of origin. The present study reveals that this effect is even more pronounced than previous research has indicated. Social inequalities were identified in the use of virtually all types of care facilities. These inequalities are also substantial when translated into health care costs. In terms of costs per resident, it is estimated that individuals with an HBO qualification (professionally oriented higher education) or a university degree are 11% below the national average, while those who only received a primary-school education are 21% above that level. The average care costs of widowed individuals and divorcees are 31% and 48% above the national average, respectively. Conversely, the cost of care for people of non-Western origin are relatively low, but they are still 15% above the national average. It is worth noting that the same percentage applies to non-indigenous individuals of Western (mainly European) origin. The main reason for this is that lower socio-economic groups have more health problems. So, this study concludes that each euro spent on health care generally ends up in the right place, i.e. where there is the greatest need for care. This underscores the enormous importance of risk solidarity in the Dutch health service. This study also illustrate the fact that combating health deprivation can help us to manage the level of care expenditure in the Netherlands.
 

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