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Denmark - P4H Network
Current Health Expenditure (CHE) as % Gross Domestic Product (GDP)10.8%CHE/GDP
Out-of-pocket (OOPS) as % of Current Health Expenditure (CHE)12.6%OOP/CHE
Domestic General Government Health Expenditure (GGHE-D) as % General Government Expenditure (GGE)18.2%GGHE-D/GGE
Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in constant (2020) US$ per capita392BGDP (USD)
Population (in thousands)5.8MPopulation
Incidence of Catastrophic Health Spending at 10% Threshold (SDG 3.8.2) Total2.9%Catastrophic Health Spending
Self-reported unmet need for medical care by sex (Total)1.1%Unmet Needs - Total
Self-reported unmet need for medical care by sex (Female)1.4%Unmet Needs - Female
Self-reported unmet need for medical care by sex (Male)1.1%Unmet Needs - Male
Denmark is a high-income country located in northern Europe (a Nordic country), with a population of about 5.9 million people in 2022 and an average life expectancy of 81 years in 2021 [1]. The following extract from Denmark: Country Health Profile 2023, published by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, summarizes Denmark’s health system.

Denmark’s universal tax-financed health system provides a comprehensive benefits package to all residents. The health system in Denmark is organised into three administrative levels: state, region and municipal. The state holds the overall regulatory, supervisory and fiscal functions. The five regions are responsible for hospitals and for planning and financing primary care services. The Association of Danish Regions represents the five regions in negotiations with the state and private providers, and plays a critical role in coordinating policy development across the regions. The 98 municipalities are responsible for rehabilitation, home and institutional long-term care, and public health.

Primary care services are delivered by self-employed general practitioners (GPs), who operate according to a national agreement about tariffs and regional plans that specify capacity and focus areas. GPs are the first point of contact for patients and have a key gatekeeping role to more specialised services. Most hospitals are owned and managed by the regions.

[Funding and health expenditure]

Most health spending comes from public sources, with voluntary health insurance playing only a minor role. In 2021, health spending in Denmark accounted for 10.8% of GDP, …slightly below the EU [European Union] average of 11%.

Health spending per person in Denmark in 2021 was higher than the EU average, at EUR 4 325 per capita compared to EUR 4 029. Most health spending (85% in 2021) was funded by the government through general taxation. This proportion of public funding has been stable over the past 15 years and is higher than the EU average (81%). Private spending accounted for the remaining 15 % of health expenditure in 2021: 13% was paid out of pocket, while the remaining 2% was covered through voluntary health insurance (VHI). Complementary VHI is purchased by over 40% of the population to cover user charges for outpatient medicines, dental care and other services.

Most health spending is allocated to outpatient care (32% of total health expenditure or EUR 1 403 per person in 2021), followed by inpatient and long-term care, while pharmaceutical spending is among the lowest in the EU (only 10% of total health expenditure in 2021, compared to an EU average of 17%)[2].