HP4A1E      Half Unit
Financing Health Care

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Elias Mossialos COW 2.12


This course is compulsory on the Executive MSc in Health Economics, Policy and Management. This course is available on the Executive 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.

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.


This course will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum 23 hours. Students will have access to lecture material delivered as short online videos. During the seminars, students will work in groups to present an overview of a health system in a country of their choice (having prepared in advance), providing an overview of its structure, organisation, management and financing. They will be asked to highlight particular strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges faced by the health system, a summary of key policy debates, and highlight potential policy solutions to critical challenges. Each presentation will be followed by a Q+A and a plenary discussion led by the seminar leader.


Formative coursework

Group presentation giving an overview of a health system in a country of their choice, providing an overview of its structure, organisation, management and financing.


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.


Take-home assessment (100%) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2016/17 - 2018/19 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 11.1
Merit 70.1
Pass 16.7
Fail 2.1

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2019/20: 3

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills