Cost Sharing for Health Care: France, Germany, and Switzerland

As policymakers in the United States weigh options for reform to the nation’s health care system, the level of cost sharing that consumers face when they receive services covered by their health plans is a major consideration, especially for those with serious health conditions.

This background brief authored by Kaiser Family Foundation researchers examines how three European countries – France, Germany, and Switzerland – have dealt with cost sharing in their health systems. While cost sharing is required in each of these countries, each has a number of specific policies to limit the impact on people and families with significant health care needs and low incomes. The brief provides an overview of each country’s health care system, its cost-sharing policies, and the cost-sharing exemptions and limits that help protect people with low incomes, certain medical conditions or high medical costs, and other characteristics from burdensome, excessive costs.

Issue Brief (.pdf)

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