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Health insurance for the healthy?: Voluntary health insurance in Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Health Services Research. Uppsala Univ, Dept Publ Hlth & Caring Sci, Box 564, SE-75122 Uppsala, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7869-408x
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Health Services Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3921-5522
2019 (English)In: Health Policy, ISSN 0168-8510, E-ISSN 1872-6054, Vol. 123, no 8, p. 737-746Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: In Sweden, voluntary health insurance is held only by a very small part of the population, but uptake has grown rapidly since 2000. So far, little is known about who purchases this insurance and what the insurance plans contain.

Aim: To provide a comprehensive description of the coverage and content of voluntary health insurance in Sweden.

Methods: Data from a national survey (Riks-SOM 2016) were used to estimate insurance coverage in different population groups. Additionally, a qualitative content analysis of the voluntary health insurance plans from seven of the largest insurance companies in Sweden was conducted.

Results: Voluntary health insurance was found to be more common among high income-earners, individuals employed in the private sector, business owners, and white-collar workers. Insurance benefits varied from visiting a general practitioner to more specialised treatments like knee or hip surgery. Pre-existing medical conditions, emergency medicine, highly specialised care and ongoing chronic care was excluded from the insurance plans.

Conclusion: Work-related factors such as employment sector, occupation and income appeared to be key determinants for VHI uptake in Sweden. Since the insurance plans included several restrictions, individuals with high care needs are excluded. Taken together, the results indicate that voluntary health insurance in Sweden provide benefits foremost for the healthy and wealthy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 123, no 8, p. 737-746
Keywords [en]
Voluntary health insurance, Sweden, Private healthcare, Access to healthcare, Health plans, Private health insurance
National Category
Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-393122DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2019.06.004ISI: 000478713300007PubMedID: 31300174OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-393122DiVA, id: diva2:1354102
Available from: 2019-09-24 Created: 2019-09-24 Last updated: 2019-09-24Bibliographically approved

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Kullberg, LinnBlomqvist, PaulaWinblad, Ulrika

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