Greeks fork out too much for health


Greeks spend disproportionately more in health costs compared to people in other member-countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), recent data suggest.

According to a publication by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) titled “Health in Greece,” which is in turn based on data from the OECD’s “Health at a Glance” report, Greeks cover 35 percent of their health costs out of their own pockets, compared to an OECD member-country average of 21 percent.

Greece’s public health insurance system, SEV said, covers about 61 percent of health costs, compared to an OECD average of 71 percent. The remaining cost is covered by Greeks themselves (35 percent) and private insurance (4 percent). This amount is among the highest in the world, with India topping the pile as Indians pay 65 percent of their health costs. People in Mexico pay 41 percent of their health costs out of their own pocket, ahead of Russia, where people cover 40 percent of the expenditure. In China, individuals pay 36 percent of their health costs, only slightly above Greece.

The public health insurance system in Greece covers 66 percent of hospital care expenses (compared to an average of 88 percent in OECD countries), 62 percent of outpatient care costs (77 percent in the OECD) and 54 percent of pharmaceutical costs (57 percent in the OECD).

The public health insurance system in Greece provides no coverage for dental care; an average of 29 percent of dental care costs are covered by the equivalent in OECD member-countries.