Universal health coverage: financial protection

Universal health coverage means everyone can use the quality health services they need without experiencing financial hardship. Financial hardship is an outcome of having to pay for health services, including medicines, at the point of use. High-performing health systems provide strong financial protection and use a range of strategies to keep formal and informal out-of-pocket payments (household expenditures) to a minimum.

Financial protection is measured using two metrics linked to the use of health services: impoverishing and catastrophic out-of-pocket payments. WHO/Europe works closely with Member States to monitor financial protection through analysis of data from household budget surveys.