Financial protection is at the core of universal health coverage (UHC) and one of the final coverage goals. Health financing policy directly affects financial protection. Financial protection is achieved when direct payments made to obtain health services do not expose people to financial hardship and do not threaten living standards.
Out-of-pocket payments for health can cause households to incur catastrophic expenditures, which in turn can push them into poverty. Key to protecting people is to ensure prepayment and pooling of resources for health, rather than relying on people paying for health services out-of-pocket at the time of use.