User Fees in General Practice: Willingness to Pay and Potential Substitution Patterns: Results from a Danish GP Patient Survey

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Abstract

Background: Increases in public expenditures to general practitioner (GP) services and specialist care have spurred debate over whether to implement user fees for healthcare services such as GP consultations in Denmark. Objective: The objective of this study was to examine Danish patients’ attitudes towards user fees and their willingness to pay (WTP) for a consultation, and to investigate how user charges may impact patients’ behaviour. Methods: A questionnaire survey was conducted in a GP clinic. Results: A total of 343 individual persons answered the questionnaire. One hundred and seventy (50%) persons were not willing to pay for a consultation. Among patients reporting positive WTP values, the mean WTP was 137 (standard deviation 140) Danish kroner (DKK). Patients who were 65 years old or older were more likely to be willing to pay for a GP consultation than patients under the age of 65 years. Furthermore, patients with a personal annual income of more than 200,000 DKK were more likely to be willing to pay for a consultation than other income groups. With respect to patients with a positive WTP value, their own assessment of the seriousness of the consultation and their self-assessed health influenced the amount they would be willing to pay. Finally, we observed a stated willingness to substitute GP consultations with alternatives that are free of charge. Conclusion: About half of the patients with an appointment for a GP consultation are willing to pay for the consultation. User charges may potentially influence the patients’ behaviour. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01784731.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Health Economics and Health Policy
Volume15
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)615–624
ISSN1175-5652
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark
  • Fees and Charges/statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Financing, Personal/economics
  • General Practice/economics
  • Health Expenditures/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction/statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

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