Health benefits and service costs in Europe
For rational decision-making, national and EU policy-makers need reliable comparisons about available health services, how these are defined, what their costs are and which prices they will have to pay for them.
The HealthBASKET project provided the first in-depth analysis of the benefit baskets and the benefit catalogues in nine European countries, representing a heterogeneous mix of health care systems. The country studies showed that information on this issue is often difficult to access, since it is highly fragmented and non-systematic.
Overall, while differences in average costs were significant between countries, within-country variation was also unexpectedly large – in some cases larger than between-country variation. These differences are partly due to different accountancy standards, but also due to prices per input unit and, most importantly, due to large and apparently real differences in practice (and therefore differences in actual coverage of services). Other explaining factors include data recording, cost-shifting to patients, exchange rates, demarcation of service to other sectors etc.
The methodology developed in this study allowed to gather heterogeneous information in a highly comparative manner and can be applied to explore and describe the health baskets and catalogues in other countries.
Main findings and recommendations were published in the final report available in six languages and in the European Journal of Health Economics.
The project began in April 2004 and ended in February 2007.