Comparing cost-sharing practices for pharmaceuticals and health care services among four central European countries

Petra Baji, Imre Boncz, György Jenei, László Gulácsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


The paper reviews the existing cost-sharing practices in four Central European countries namely the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia focusing on patient co-payments for pharmaceuticals and services covered by the social health insurance. The aim is to examine the role of cost-sharing arrangements and to evaluate them in terms of efficiency, equity and public acceptance to support policy making on patient payments in Central Europe. Our results suggest that the share of out-of-pocket payments in total health care expenditure is relatively high (24-27%) in the countries examined. The main driver of these payments is the expenditure on pharmaceuticals and medical devices, which share exceeds 70% of the household expenditure on health care. The four countries use similar cost-sharing techniques for pharmaceuticals, however there are differences concerning the measure of exemption mechanisms for vulnerable social groups. Patient payment policies for health care services covered by the social health insurance are also converging. All the four countries apply co-payments for dental care, some hotel services or in the case of free choice of physician. Also the countries (except for Poland) tried to extend co-payments for physician services and hospital care. However, their introduction met strong political opposition and unpopularity among public.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-240
Number of pages20
JournalSociety and Economy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2012



  • Central Europe
  • I11
  • I18
  • co-payments
  • cost-sharing
  • out-of-pocket payments
  • visit fee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Industrial relations
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Strategy and Management

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