HP400      Half Unit
Financing Health Care

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Elias Mossialos COW.4.08


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Global Health Policy, MSc in Health Policy, Planning and Financing, MSc in International Health Policy and MSc in International Health Policy (Health Economics). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

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.

The course provides 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.


20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

This course will be delivered through 18 hours of lectures and 5 seminars (2 hours each). In addition there will be a two-hour revision session in the MT and a two-hour revision session in the ST. 

Formative coursework

Students will write a 1,500 formative essay. The essay topic will be provided by the end of October and students expected to submit by the end of November. Seminar leaders will provide written feedback on the essays by the end of the Michaelmas term. 

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).


Exam (70%, duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes) in the summer exam period.
Research project (30%) in the LT.

The research project (1,500 words) will be submitted in LT.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 10
Merit 71.9
Pass 16.9
Fail 1.2

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2018/19: 153

Average class size 2018/19: 15

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills