AGE responds to Commission consultation on health inequalities

March 2009

AGE welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation and to contribute our views to the questions posed by the European Commission on EU action to reduce health inequalities. While we consder that the impact assessment highlights the major problems around health inequalities, we are surprised to find no mention of the ageing dimension of health inequalities.

The specific challenges faced by older women and men in accessing health and long-term care are not taken into consideration, for example the difficult situation of older people in rural areas where the scarcity of primary care services combined with a lack of public transport put older people in a particularly difficult situation is not considered.

AGE is also concerned about the the trend to individualise health responsibility which will create greater inequalities and we would like to recommend to the Commission to assess the impact that the proposed directive on non discrimination in access to goods and services (July 2008) will have on older people, and in particular older women, if Article 2.7 remains as it is and insurance companies are allowed to apply differential treatments to customers based on their age, sex and health status in supplementary health insurance.

To respond adequately to the challenges of reducing health inequalities, in particular among Europe’s ageing populations, a range of concerted EU actions are needed. These include awareness raising initiatives, improving the mechanisms to monitor inequalities in health between and within Member States and support to national actions to tackle health inequalities, in particular in terms of prevention through encouraging greater policy coordination, exchange of best practice and the provision of financial supportsuch as the Structural Funds and other relevant EU funding sources.

Please find the AGE response here.

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