Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2010 Sep;53(9):925-38. doi: 10.1007/s00103-010-1119-7.

[Morbidity and healthcare differences between insured in the statutory ("GKV") and private health insurance ("PKV") in Germany. Review of empirical studies].

[Article in German]

Author information

Institut für Gesundheitsökonomie und Management im Gesundheitswesen, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Postfach 1129, 85758 Neuherberg.



It has rarely been analyzed whether there are differences in Germany concerning morbidity and healthcare between insured by statutory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung, GKV) and insured by private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung, PKV). In addition, the available studies are very scattered and no review has been published yet. The study presented here aims at closing this gap and at discussing recommendations for future analyses.


By searching for publications in the Medline and PubMed databanks, only a very few studies could be identified in this manner Thus, our search was extended to include a number of German institutes and organizations working in the field of public health and health systems research. In addition, we checked all references listed in the relevant publications.


A total of 18 relevant publications could be identified; however, just four of them were found via Medline and PubMed. The empirical analyses show that the GKV insured are often less healthy than the PKV insured, and that they more often go to primary care physicians. A potential disadvantage of GKV insured concerning healthcare can be seen in regard to new, innovative drugs, organ transplantations, financial burden due to co-payments, waiting times, and communication between patient and physician.


Most studies show that there are large differences between GKV-insured and PKV-insured, concerning health status as well as healthcare. However, due to methodological weaknesses, some of these results are difficult to interpret. More studies focusing on specific age groups (e.g., children) are needed, and the methodological standard (e.g., statistical control for other factors such as income, distinction between different subgroups of insured) must also be raised. Finally, systematic differences between GKV and PKV should be considered in all analyses comparing these two schemes, such as differences in the availability of data concerning healthcare.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Support Center