Health insurance schemes have potential for universal health coverageListen /
Health insurance schemes can help to achieve universal coverage of health services, according to a survey of countries in Asia and Africa.
The study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO) says such schemes reduce the need for people to pay for health services at the point of delivery.
One of the authors of the study, Dr. Ernst Spaan, Senior Researcher and Lecturer in Public Health in The Netherlands, says there are many countries that are still using this system.
"For particularly very poor countries with large populations that have very low income and erratic income this, of course, poses a significant barrier for access to health services because they simply cannot pay for the services that health providers can give because they don't have the money for it. So that means that for many people are actually barred from getting the health services that they need when they fall ill."
WHO is advocating for designing health insurance schemes that ensure that the poor are included in the coverage including through government subsidies.