Health financing for universal coverage

Health financing topics

Our website now includes information on a range of key topics in health financing policy. We are continually adding new topics to this section, with the aim of providing a summary of the key policy issues and messages, definitions, priority references and other information such as recent events and links to training opportunities.

Current topics include the core functions of health financing policy, and other issues such as public health taxes, earmarking revenues for health, financial protection, and public financial management. If you have suggestions or comments please let us know.

Fiscal space, public financial management and health financing: sustaining progress towards universal health coverage

WHO’s Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing convened representatives from national health and finance ministries and other relevant government bodies, partner agencies, foundations, initiatives and civil society organizations, to discuss priorities and opportunities for enhancing productive engagement between finance and health authorities to enable countries to sustain progress towards universal health coverage. This meeting showcased ongoing work as part of the jointly agreed upon collaborative agenda.

Benefit package

WHO /Eric Schwab

All countries face decisions about what to include in a publicly-funded benefit package for health. Decisions concern which health services to include, as well as related rules such as a requirement to use the referral system, making co-payments, or being subject to waiting lists. Benefit package design is a key instrument to steer the health systems towards UHC. Decisions about priority services take into account information on cost-effectiveness, impact on financial protection, and equity in access across a population. Ensuring the effective delivery of benefits also requires coordination with policies on revenue raising, pooling, purchasing, and service delivery.

Health financing for universal coverage

Universal health coverage (UHC) aims to ensure that everyone, everywhere, can access quality health services without facing financial hardship as a result. Every year 100 million people are pushed into poverty and 150 million people globally suffer financial catastrophe annually because of out-of-pocket expenditure on health services. Financial protection is at the core of UHC and improving financial protection is a central focus of health financing policy.

Recent highlights

Health financing country diagnostic

This document provides guidance on how to undertake a situation analysis of a country’s health financing system.

Raising revenues - Policy brief

The importance of public funding for health to improve access to health services and ensure financial protection.

Health system efficiency

Ten country case studies demonstrate the effects of improving efficiency in health systems.

Alternative financing strategies for universal health coverage

This chapter synthesizes theory, lessons and practice into principles to guide country-level financing reforms.

Concepts in global health

Health systems strengthening, universal health coverage, health security and resilience.

Monitoring financial protection in the SDGs

Find out how to use the indicator 3.8.2 of the SDGs.