Understanding Society

Tilburg University has been a reliable provider of high-quality education and research for more than eighty years. We specialize in the social sciences and humanities and we seek to make a structural contribution to society.

Call for solidarity among the young and old in health care premature

An aging population is threatening the sustainability of health care expenditures and putting pressure on the solidarity between generations. However, a closer look at health care spending over the entire life cycle would indicate that the need for solidarity is less pressing than expected. These are the findings of Albert Wong’s PhD thesis.

Albert Wong claims that the difference in individual health care expenditures between the young and old during a calendar year is continuing to increase due to medical advances. The elderly are benefiting the most from the new medical innovations.

However, with the aid of a self-developed simulation model, Wong demonstrates that the range in health care expenditure between individuals over an entire life cycle is much smaller than over a single calendar year. His findings show that the majority of people will experience at least one year of high health care expenditure during their lifetime. The need for solidarity between individuals should therefore be less than previously expected. However, the study did reveal a wide range in health care spending among the generations themselves.

Wong’s simulation will provide a starting point for further research into alternative funding possibilities, such as introducing private health care savings accounts.

Albert Wong (1980, Enschede) studied Applied Mathematics at the University of Twente. His PhD research was conducted in the Tranzo Department at Tilburg University in cooperation with the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Wong works for the Department of Statistics, Modelling and Data Logistics at the RIVM.

Thesis title: 'Describing, Explaining and Predicting Health Care Expenditures with Statistical Methods'. Supervisors: Prof. Johan Polder and Prof. Hendriek Boshuizen.