Health financing for universal coverage

Lessons learned from a community-based medisave experiment among rural women in the Indian state of Karnataka

Discussion paper 6/2009

World Health Organization

Publication details

Number of pages: 38
Publication date: 2009
Languages: English
WHO reference number: HSS/HSF/DP.09.6



One of the major challenges of global health financing is to develop systems that protect people against the financial risks of obtaining health care - to allow them to seek needed care without the risks of financial catastrophe and impoverishment.

This paper discusses the health financing experiences of 600 rural women, who participated in a medisave experiment conducted during 2005-2007. They came from 27 villages (with a total population of about 35'000 or 7'000 households) in the Indian state of Karnataka. Results and experiences shared here are based on real-time health care financing and provision with a follow-up period of one year. They are an outcome of a fruitful partnership between the women, general physicians, local communities, women's NGOs, private hospitals, a government bank, an academic institution, and a national (public sector) health insurance company.