World Bank is urged to end support for social health insurance schemes

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 09 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6101
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. 1London

The World Bank should stop encouraging developing countries to set up health insurance schemes in the drive to ensure universal access to healthcare, the charity Oxfam has urged.

In a report published on 9 October the charity says that social health insurance schemes, promoted by the World Bank and other organisations as effective ways of ensuring universal access to healthcare, “have low coverage, are costly to administer, and exclude the poor.”1

Social health insurance schemes work by taking a percentage from an employee’s wage and then pooling health revenues so that they can be distributed throughout the population. The report says that they are successful in high income countries where rates of employment are high but are not …

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