Health financing for universal coverage

Out-of-pocket health payments and catastrophic expenditures

Catastrophic health expenditures

Out-of-pocket payments for health can cause households to incur catastrophic expenditures, which in turn can push them into poverty. The need to pay out-of-pocket can also mean that households do not seek care when they need it. An analysis of 108 surveys in 86 countries has revealed that catastrophic payments are incurred by less than 1% of households in some countries and up to 13% in others. Up to 5% of households are pushed into poverty. The following technical brief summarises the issue, with a list of more detailed documents on the next page.