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Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik

Journal of Economics and Statistics

Editor-in-Chief: Winker, Peter

Ed. by Büttner, Thiess / Riphahn, Regina / Smolny, Werner / Wagner, Joachim

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.456

CiteScore 2017: 0.47

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.231
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.606

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Volume 238, Issue 5


Waiting Times for Outpatient Treatment in Germany: New Experimental Evidence from Primary Data

Nils Heinrich / Ansgar Wübker / Christiane Wuckel
Published Online: 2018-08-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jbnst-2018-0025


Long waiting times are a common feature and a major concern in many public health care systems. They are often characterized as inefficient because they are a burden to patients without generating any gains for providers. There is an ongoing debate in Germany regarding the preferential treatment given to private health insurance (PHI) holders while statutory health insurance (SHI) holders face continuously increasing waiting times. In order to tackle this problem in the outpatient sector, Germany initiated a reform in 2015 which was aimed at providing SHI holders with appointments within an acceptable time frame. We exploit longitudinal experimental data to examine waiting times for six elective outpatient treatments in Germany for PHI and SHI holders before and after the reform. We find a considerable difference in waiting times favoring private patients. For SHI holders, waiting times remained stable over time (27.5 days in 2014, 30.7 days in 2016, Δ 3.2 days, p-value=0.889) while PHI holders experienced a significant improvement (13.5 days in 2014; 7.8 days in 2016; Δ 5.7 days, p-value=0.002). The results indicate that even after the reform there is still an unequal access to elective outpatient treatment depending on the patient’s insurance status.

Keywords: waiting times; outpatient care; Germany; public health insurance; private health insurance

JEL Classification: I10; I11; I18


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-08-24

Published in Print: 2018-09-25

Citation Information: Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik, Volume 238, Issue 5, Pages 375–394, ISSN (Online) 2366-049X, ISSN (Print) 0021-4027, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jbnst-2018-0025.

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© 2018 Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag GmbH, Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

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