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Is health insurance global health's magic bullet? The top five misconceptions about universal health coverage and insurance

According to the World Health Organization, achievement of universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people can access the health services they need to become and stay healthy without suffering financial hardship.

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Health insurance schemes are meant to allow people to contribute—prior to their need for services—to a funding “pool” that will pay for future healthcare. The more that people of varying health status and ability to pay join the scheme, the more likely it becomes that pooled funds will be sufficient to cover needs as they arise. People who stay healthy access less care and subsidize the sick, and risk of illness is “pooled.” Further, if contributions are based on ability to pay, those who are better off assist those with fewer means. It is commonly believed that forming large, unified, insurance-based risk pools in developing countries is the only way to achieve UHC that ensures broad access to care and protects the poor from burdensome, potentially impoverishing health spending.

UHC and health insurance coverage are often assumed to mean the same thing. However, it is not necessarily true that the road to UHC must be paved with expanded health insurance! Here, we discuss common misconceptions about how insurance schemes advance the principles of universal health coverage.

This article was written by Suneeta Sharma, VP of Health at Palladium; Arin Dutta, Director of Health at Palladium; and Megan Ginivan. To read the full article on The Huffington Post, please click here