Health Equity and Financial Protection in Asia

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Contract/Grant agreement number
: 223166
EC contribution
: € 2,885,767.00
: 54 months
Starting date
: 01/06/2009
: Healthcare, Equity, Asia, health financing, impact evaluation.
Project web-site
: http://www.hefpa.nl

In much of Asia, accessing healthcare involves incurring high out-of-pocket (OOP) payments. Many sick people forgo needed treatment, get inadequate care or incur medical expenses that threaten their financial security. HEFPA evaluates the effectiveness of various demand and supply side policy interventions intended to increase utilization of appropriate care and/or provide better protection from medical expenditure risks. The project conducts research in six countries at different stages of socioeconomic and health system development: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Findings reveal that voluntary insurance enrolment is unlikely to achieve large scale extensions of health coverage; that, when achieved, coverage extensions generally lead to increased utilization but that improved protection from the financial consequences of illness is much harder to achieve and likely depends on complex interactions between the design of insurance and provider payment systems; that provider incentives can be used to improve access to appropriate, quality health care; and that illness-induced income loss continues to pose a substantial financial risk to Asian households even when comprehensive health coverage is achieved.

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