New analysis from WHO shows that the incidence of catastrophic health spending is high in Poland compared to many other European Union (EU) countries. It is heavily concentrated among the poorest households, and largely driven by out-of-pocket payments for outpatient medicines.
Although most publicly financed health services in Poland are free at the point of use, outpatient prescriptions are subject to a complex system of user charges (copayments). Mechanisms to protect households from copayments are generally weak: there are no exemptions explicitly benefiting low-income people or people with chronic conditions, and no caps on copayments. Voluntary health insurance offers faster access to care, but it tends to favour better-off people, exacerbating inequalities.
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