Health financing

Financial protection

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.

Financial protection in more detail

Monitoring financial protection within the Sustainable Development Goals - Indicator 3.8.2.

This section describes how to monitor financial protection, which is a key dimension of universal health coverage, within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Key policy messages

Financial protection is not guaranteed by entitlement and membership to a health coverage scheme, as broader changes in the health system are required.

Out-of-pocket payments, user fees and catastrophic expenditure

Out-of-pocket payments are defined as direct payments made by individuals to health care providers at the time of service use.