The rise of private health insurande in Denmark: institutional change and policy feedback

Thomas Engel Dejgaard

Publikation: Working paperForskning


The Danish healthcare system has since the early 1970s been tax financed and with free and equal access to health care. It still is, but within the last decade there has been an exponential growth in the number of private health insurances – from less than 50.000 in 2002 to approximately 1.1 million in 2010. These private health insurances to great extent cover the same kind of treatments that can be obtained through the public tax financed system, but without the waiting lists that has been the an unsolvable problem for the public health care system over the past two decades. The rise of private health insurances in Denmark means that alongside the public healthcare institution there has grown a private institutional layer. The existence of this private institutional layer raises questions of what kind of influence the new private institutions can have on the existing public healthcare institutions e.g. will the private institutions undermine the existing public ones? This has been heavily debated and still is in the Danish public. What this thesis wants to shed light on is whether the private insurances starts a dynamic processes of incremental or gradual institutional change in the public health care system or if the path dependent trajectory will prevail in spite of the new institution. The paper at hand will discuss whether these processes can be concurrent.
StatusUdgivet - 2011