Country Correspondent: Roosa Tikkanen

A recent World Health Organization (WHO) Europe report examining financial hardship and unmet need for health services in 24 high- and middle-income European countries found that catastrophic health care spending is heavily concentrated among the poorest populations, with the majority of spending on outpatient drugs. Those countries with strong financial protections in place and low levels of unmet need were found to have the following features in common: universal coverage based on population entitlement; minimized out-of-pocket payments, particularly for poor people and regular users of health services; caps on out-of-pocket spending set at no more than 15 percent of total health spending; and adequate public health spending to ensure timely access to care.