Health Policy

Chiles state underspends on health care, says OECD

Chile accounts for 47 percent of health spending

The latest study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), released on Wednesday, uated the current state of health care in all 34 member nations, including how much each government spends on health care, and how much its citizens have to pay out of pocket.
Health at a Glance 2011 revealed that Chile has the second-highest out of pocket spending among the members, only behind Mexico. In Chile, out of pocket spending on health care accounts for 34 percent of all funding, compared to the OECD average of 19 percent.

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Out of pocket spending is defined by the OECD as the amount patients spend to cover costs that are not covered by health insurance. In some member countries, like the Netherlands and France, patients pay as little as 6 or 7 percent of their total health costs.

In Chile the government accounts for 47 percent of total health spending — the least amount among OECD members, who average 72 percent. The study also points to the fact that state is the main source of funding for health care in every single country in the OECD except for Chile, Mexico and the United States.

The remaining 19 percent of funding in Chile comes from private insurance companies, or Isapres.

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According to the report, in 2009 people living in the U.S. spent US$7,960 per capita on health costs, whereas in Chile US$1,186 was spent per capita. In Chile on average, US$557 was spent by the state, while the remaining US$628 was provided by the patients.

One of the biggest health issues covered by the study is the increasing prence of obesity rates in developed nations. Although there has not been an increase in this figure between 2000 and 2009, obesity levels in Chile are pegged 25 percent, above the average OECD level for 2009 of 17 percent.

The study also has shown the improvement of life expectancy in Chile, reaching 78 years old in 2009. This is a 21-year increase in life expectancy since 1960.

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