OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to investigate the reasons of the insured in Germany for taking cure regimes in foreign European countries. METHODS Health insurances conducted a survey including insurance holders in Germany who had taken a cure regime in a foreign European country in 2012 or 2011. In a paper-pencil interview, the sample was asked why they performed the cure regime abroad, how satisfied they were regarding the quality of the health professionals and the treatment, respectively, how long a positive effect lasted, where they spent their cure regime and about their plans regarding a future treatment in a health resort. RESULTS In total, 443 insurance holders (60.7% female, mean age 68 years) were included. Price-performance ratio of board, lodging and treatment (75.6%), the health resorts' reputation (64.5%) and recommendations of the personal environment (56.1%) were the main reasons for taking a cure regime abroad. Most of the participants were satisfied with the quality of the health professionals and the health resort; two thirds rated the effect as lasting longer than 3 months. The study population predominantly took services of health resorts located in the Czech Republic, in Hungary and in Poland. For taking a cure in the future, most of the study participants (77%) preferred health resorts abroad, however, a gender-specific analysis revealed this trend to be more pronounced in the male study population. CONCLUSION Based on the results of the survey one might suggest that cost factors along with high level of satisfaction regarding the quality of treatments provided at the health resorts abroad, positively influence the decision for taking a cure regime in a foreign country. In the sample of this study, the decision is rarely based on the health insurances' or the health resorts' promotion activity, respectively. However, to conclude on the total population, requires data of a representative sample.
S. Kus, D. Frisch, A. Schuh
Gesundheitswesen (Bundesverband der Arzte des Offentlichen Gesundheitsdienstes (Germany))