Important legal notice
Contact   |   Search on EUROPA   
Health - Taking the temperature of European healthcare
“Developing projections and scenarios that will help plan good-quality health care services for Europe’s ageing population”

The problem

Europe’s ageing population is putting pressure on health care budgets. Rising costs impact on health care systems across the continent and also affect Europe’s wider economic prospects. Health policy makers need good-quality information so they can accurately project future costs and demands for care. New projections and scenarios for health care demand must be created if Europe is to meet the challenge of providing decent care for its ever-ageing population.

AHEAD  Gauging how an ageing population affects health care demand


The project will refine existing estimates of the link between reported states of medical health and the use of medical services. Researchers will examine the effects of ageing on health care; take account of the links between expenditure and fertility rates; and look at the demands put on health services by non-native populations.

Particular attention will focus on the costs of care near-death – and studies made of factors (other than demand) that influence health spending.

The aim is to produce projections of health expenditure that can accurately inform the health policy-making in Europe.

Contribution to policy development:

The project will contribute to:

  • informing policy-makers and the public about the likely pressures on public and private spending from a number of possible sources, including demographic change
  • assessing the reliability of the information with which policy advice is provided
  • informing the policy debate, generally, in these countries
  • advising on the effects of different financing methods and their scope for adaptation when countries decide how best to manage future upward pressures on health spending
  • innovating the impact assessment methodology, with a view to improving the foundations for policy advice on the future of financing of health care systems

Project deliverables

  • Carry out health and morbidity studies in Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia – October 2004
  • Analyse transitions between poor and good states of health and the socio-economic factors associated with people moving into institutional care – February 2005
  • Develop health expenditure scenarios in Sweden, the United Kingdom, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia – February 2007
  • Construct estimates of health costs in the year prior to death for Italy – May 2005
  • Hold conferences on changing patterns of life expectancy (July 2005); and on prospective levels of health spending in the EU (January 2007).


Project results will be disseminated by partners to a wide audience of relevant policy makers.

  • The two major conferences above will provide policy-makers with a chance to study the project’s findings (July 2005 and January 2007).
  • Targeting the press and media – issuing press releases when required to announce findings (as required).
  • Setting up and maintaining an internet space for the project on the European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes (ENEPRI) web site.

Technical information

Project acronym: AHEAD
Project’s official full title: Ageing, health status and determinants of health expenditure
Research priority: Health determinants and the provision of high quality and sustainable health care services and pension systems (in particular in the context of ageing and demographic change)
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 502641
Start date: 01/02/2004
Kick off meeting: 01/04/2004
Completion date: 31/01/2007
European Commission scientific officer: Kevin McCarthy (

Name: Centre for European Policy Studies
Abbreviated name: CEPS
Address: 1 Place du Congrès,
1000 Brussels
Country: Belgium
Tel: +32 2 229 3911
Fax: +32 2 219 4151


Name: National Institute for Economic and Social Research
Abbreviated name: NIESR
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Research
Abbreviated name: CPB
Country: The Netherlands

Name: Deutsches Institut für Wirtschahftsforschung
Abbreviated name: DIW
Country: Germany

Name: Economic and Social Research Institute
Abbreviated name: ESRI
Country: Ireland

Name: Research Institute for the Finnish Economy
Abbreviated name: ETLA
Country: Finland

Name: Federal Planning Bureau
Abbreviated name: FPB
Country: Belgium

Name: Istituto di Studi e Analisi Economica
Abbreviated name: ISAE
Country: Italy

Name: Institute for Advanced Studies
Abbreviated name: IHS
Country: Austria

Name: Institute for Public Health
Abbreviated name: IPH
Country: Denmark

Name: Laboratoire d’Economie et de Gestion des Organisations de Santé
Abbreviated name: LEGOS
Country: France

Name: Personal Social Services Research Unit
Abbreviated name: PSSRU
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Centre for Social and Economic Research
Abbreviated name: CASE
Country: Poland

Name: Institute for Economics and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Abbreviated name: IE-BAS
Country: Bulgaria

Name: The Institute of Slovak and the World Economy
Abbreviated name: ISWE
Country: Slovakia

Name: University of Tartu
Abbreviated name: UNITARTU
Country: Estonia