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It's not ageing, stupid: Why population ageing won't bankrupt health systems

Jayawardana, Sahan ORCID: 0000-0001-7081-3910, Cylus, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0001-8269-1578 and Mossialos, Elias ORCID: 0000-0001-8664-9297 (2019) It's not ageing, stupid: Why population ageing won't bankrupt health systems. European Heart Journal - Quality of Care and Clinical Outcomes, 5 (3). pp. 195-201. ISSN 2058-5225

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Identification Number: 10.1093/ehjqcco/qcz022


An ageing population is often viewed as a factor that will increase healthcare expenditures (HCE) to unsustainable levels. With nearly half the disease burden in high-income countries arising in older people, there are concerns that caring for a burgeoning older population that is sick and dependent on support will not be possible. The aim of this narrative review is to examine how population ageing is likely to affect future HCE growth. We find that despite the increasing share of older people over the next few decades, the changing age-mix will not be a significant driver of HCE growth. While older people, on average, incur higher per person healthcare spending than younger people, the proportions of the population at the oldest and most costly age groups increase very slowly over time. In the European Union, we estimate the changing age-mix to result in the increase of the average annual growth in per person health spending by no more than 0.6 additional percentage points per year between 2015 and 2050. Therefore, price growth and technological advancements, independent of population ageing, will be the main contributors to future HCE growth.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Health Policy
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2020 14:36
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 03:02

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