Dental Tribune Europe

German dental health care system stands out in European comparison

By Dental Tribune International
March 26, 2015

BERLIN, Germany: The Institute of German Dentists has conducted a study to compare different European health care systems based on selected dental treatment scenarios. The health economics study, called EURO-Z-II, found that—compared with six other European countries—the German health care system delivers top dental care and responds well to crises.

“The outstanding oral health of the German population, which has been established in various studies, has now been put into the context of the health care system. From this, it is apparent that the majority of the population is statutorily insured (86 per cent) with 11 per cent of the population privately insured. This creates a system that is well equipped to manage crises and has an innovative and investment-friendly foundation, thereby assuring secure and modern dental care for the general public,” stated Dr Peter Engel, President of the German Dental Association.

The EURO-Z-II study analysed different concepts of dental care in seven European countries. The researchers compared several national health care systems, among them the classic Bismarckian social security system in Germany, France and the Netherlands; the tax-funded Beveridge system in Denmark and the UK; the young social security system in Hungary based on the Semashko model; and the mixed system in Switzerland.

In Germany, a large number of dental services form part of the primary care of statutory health insurance and the expenses for the social security system are mostly independent of the current economic situation. Thus, there are nearly no fluctuations that could have negative effects on dental care. “In this respect, our health expenses even have a stabilising effect on the economy,” explained Dr Wolfgang Eßer, Chairman of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Dentists.

Moreover, the German system is very beneficial for the patient: “Statutorily insured patients have relatively low deductibles compared with other countries. In many European countries, the dental treatments examined in this study, especially in prosthodontics, are not part of the services of the national health care system. Patients in these countries are solely responsible for paying for their treatment themselves,” Eßer explained.

The EURO-Z project was initiated in 1999 and has now been updated with the EURO-Z-II study. The methods of this second study are based on the previous one and the study evaluated the current dental fees in Europe in comparison with the situation in 1999. Several changes have occurred since then, mainly the Economic and Monetary Union, as well as various dental fee reforms in several European countries.

The study, titled “EURO-Z-II: Comparison of dental fees in Europe”, was published in Volume 34 of the monograph series of the Institute of German Dentists, and was presented at a press conference on 3 March in Berlin.

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