HP400      Half Unit
Financing Health Care

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Elias Mossialos and Mr George Wharton


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

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access) and demand is typically high. Places are allocated first to students in the Department of Health Policy and then on a first come first served basis.

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 during Autumn Term. Students will work together in small groups on structured learning activities set by the course leads, ahead of the seminars.

There will be a departmental reading week in week 6 of term.

There will be a 2 hour revision session held in the Spring Term ahead of the final exams.

Formative coursework

Students will receive feedback on formative activities of in-class group work and presentations.

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

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 17.7
Merit 70.9
Pass 10.3
Fail 1.1

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2022/23: 142

Average class size 2022/23: 13

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

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