SA4G1      Half Unit
Financing Health Care

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Elias Mossialos COW.4.08


This course is compulsory on the Executive MSc in Health Economics, Policy and Management. This course is available on the MSc in Health Economics, Outcomes and Management in Cardiovascular Sciences. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course aims to give students a thorough grounding in health financing policy. It focuses on the health financing functions of collecting revenue, pooling funds and purchasing services, as well as on policy choices concerning coverage, resource allocation and market structure. The course mainly draws on examples from health financing policy in European countries, but the general principles studied apply internationally.

By the end of the course students will have:

• a grasp of the economic, political and philosophical concepts relevant to any discussion of health financing policy

• a good understanding of how financing arrangements affect the achievement of key health financing policy goals such as financial protection, equity in financing and equity of access to health care, incentives for efficiency and quality in the organization and delivery of health services, administrative efficiency, transparency and accountability

• the skills to critically assess current health financing arrangements and options for reform

• an overview of key health financing policy issues, including the advantages and disadvantages of different ways of raising revenue for health; the role of private financing mechanisms; the importance of pooling; decisions about whom to cover, what services to cover, and how much of service cost to cover; allocating resources to purchasers, purchasing market structure and the principles of strategic purchasing; the incentives associated with different methods of paying providers; and the issue of financial sustainability.


11 hours of lectures in total and 4 seminars (1.5 hours each).

Formative coursework

Students will sit a one-hour progress test in their own time. This will involve writing an essay under exam conditions. Their seminar leader will mark the essay and provide a mark and written feedback.

Indicative reading

WHO, World Health Report 2010 - Health systems financing: the path to universal coverage (2010); E Mossialos, A Dixon, J Figueras & J Kutzin (eds), Funding health care: options for Europe, Open University Press (2002); J Kutzin, Health financing policy: a guide for decision-makers, World Health Organization (2008); T Rice, The economics of health reconsidered, Health Administration Press (3rd edn, 2009)

Students will be given access to essential readings before the course begins through the pre-sessional reading programme on Moodle. They will be expected to read these prior to the first day of class.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

This is the same course as SA407 Financing Health Care (H) but it has different teaching arrangements.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 3.6
Merit 85.4
Pass 8.8
Fail 2.2

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information