Universal Health Insurance and High-Risk Groups in West Germany: Implications for U.S. Health Policy

Access to West Germany’s broad-based health-insurance system is geared to the country’s occupational structure. People who qualify, however, may seek coverage from alternative sources, including local “sickness funds.” The changing nature of the German job market is leading to concentration of high-risk groups in the local funds, some of which could in turn face serious financial problems. Proponents of a universal health-insurance program for the United States need to take account of the growing segmentation of risk groups in the current German experience, which may ultimately threaten the concept of solidarity on which the system is founded.

Author(s): Jere A. Wysong; Thomas Abel

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Volume 68, Issue 4 (pages 527–560)
Published in 1990