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Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012-05-14) Brunner, Greg ; Gottret, Pablo ; Hansl, Birgit ; Kalavakonda, Vijayasekar ; Nagpal, Somil ; Tapay, NicoleHealth care expenditures can be financed through a mix of public resources and private spending. Private spending is a much larger share of total health spending in low- and middle-income countries than in higher income countries. Moreover, a significant percentage of private spending in those countries is out-of-pocket direct payments for health care services by individuals. Out of pocket expenditures account for more than 60 percent of the total health care spending in low-income countries and 40 percent of total health care spending in middle-income countries. A growing number of low- and middle-income governments are considering private health insurance as a way of both reducing the risk that individuals will have a catastrophic financial burden and achieving other public health care goals. Among these goals are reducing the financial burden on overstretched public health financing, achieving more equitable access to health care, and improving quality and efficiency in the delivery of health care services. An important component of a successful private health insurance market, however, is its legal framework. As discussed in detail later in this book, countries regulate insurance companies to counter systemic market failures that lead to an inefficient and inequitable market. In particular, insurance laws are designed to prevent insurers from becoming insolvent and from engaging in unfair practices and discriminatory behavior. When private health insurance serves as a significant source of financing in a nation's health care system, usually insurance laws also include a range of consumer protection laws that enhance both access to the services covered by private health insurers and the adequacy of the benefits provided by the insurer. This chapter provides a general overview of private health insurance. It begins with a discussion of the definition of private health insurance and the potential roles of private health insurance as part of a nation's health care financing system. In addition, the chapter reviews the variety of entities that sell private health insurance.
Publication(Washington, DC : World Bank, 2008) Gottret, Pablo ; Schieber, George J. ; Waters, Hugh R.This volume focuses on nine countries that have completed, or are well along in the process of carrying out, major health financing reforms. These countries have significantly expanded their people's health care coverage or maintained such coverage after prolonged political or economic shocks. In doing so, this report seeks to expand the evidence base on good performance in health financing reforms in low- and middle-income countries. The countries chosen for the study were Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Estonia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, and Vietnam. With health at the center of global development policy on humanitarian as well as economic and health security grounds, the international community and developing countries are closely focused on scaling up health systems to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), improving financial protection, and ensuring long-term financing to sustain these gains. With the scaling up of aid, both donors and countries have come to realize that money alone cannot buy health gains or prevent impoverishment due to catastrophic medical bills. This realization has sent policy makers looking for reliable evidence about what works and what does not, but they have found little to guide their search.
Publication(Washington, DC : World Bank, 2008) Savedoff, William D. ; Gottret, PabloThis book provides guidance to countries that want to reform or establish mandatory health insurance (MHI) by specifically addressing governance. It elucidates the role played by the social, political, and historical context in conditioning how MHI systems are governed and, in turn, how governance structures influence the health insurance systems' performance. The book describes the forms of governance that are associated with success, in particular, the regulatory institutions required to guide the system toward its social goals; the oversight mechanisms that monitor and correct the system; and the internal management of the health insurance institutions themselves. It highlights five governance dimensions: coherent decision making structures, stakeholder participation, transparency and information, supervision and regulation, and consistency and stability that influence the coverage, financial protection, and efficiency of MHI entities, and show how these operate in particular countries. Detailed analysis of governance arrangements in four countries: Chile, Costa Rica, Estonia, and the Netherlands, provide nuanced lessons for establishing health insurance systems that can truly serve the social goals of improved health, reduced financial insecurity, and greater equity.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2006) Gottret, Pablo ; Schieber, GeorgeThis overview of health financing tools, policies and trends--with a particular focus on challenges facing developing countries--provides the basis for effective policy-making. Analyzing the current global environment, the book discusses health financing goals in the context of both the underlying health, demographic, social, economic, political and demographic analytics as well as the institutional realities faced by developing countries, and assesses policy options in the context of global evidence, the international aid architecture, cross-sectoral interactions, and countries' macroeconomic frameworks and overall development plans.