Cover: Possibility or Utopia?

Possibility or Utopia?

Consumer Choice in Health Care: A Literature Review

Published Dec 13, 2004

by Ineke van Beusekom, Silke Tonshoff, Han de Vries, Connor Spreng, Emmett B. Keeler

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This literature review examines consumer choice in health insurance plans against the background of the German health system in order to inform the questions: What are models of consumer choice and their effects?, and: If consumers want lower cost health care, what instruments can insurers use to provide it and what are the likely effects of those instruments? The review looked at experiences in other industrialized countries, especially the United States, for consumer choice options such as co-payments, reimbursement/bonuses, and deductibles, as well as organizational designs such as gatekeeper systems and selective contracting. In addition to cost-containment measures, the review also examined what was known about effects on health status, satisfaction, fairness and the macro-economic situation. The review describes the health economics theory of consumer choice, the methodology for the literature review, the German health system, and studies on consumer choice of insurers and providers, and reflects on their relevance on the German system.

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