Equal access to health care is a central goal of all European health-care systems. International studies, however, show that this goal has not been accomplished yet. The aim of this study is to investigate if there are inequalities across patients with different levels of education and if these differences vary with the institutional set-up of health-care systems. The test of this hypothesis is based on a comparison of eleven European countries using data from the SHARE survey (Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe). Our results show that in countries with institutionalised gatekeeping systems differences of utilisation between educational groups are rather low. In countries with free access to specialists, patients with higher levels of education show a higher probability of specialist visits than their counterparts with lower levels of education.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.