Health financing for universal coverage

Private health insurance: implications for developing countries

Discussion paper, Number 3/2004

World Health Organization

Publication details

Number of pages: 28
Publication date: 2004
Languages: English
WHO reference number: EIP/FER/DP.04.3



Private health insurance plays a large and increasing role around the world. This paper reviews international experiences and shows that private health insurance is significant in countries with widely different income levels and health system structures. It contrasts private health insurance across regions and highlights countries with particularly high rates of private expenditures. It argues that policy makers need to confront the role that private health insurance will play in their health systems and regulate the sector appropriately so that it serves public goals of universal coverage and equity.