Asian Development Bank, ADB

Session 3C: Social Health Protection: Extending Coverage and Improving Access in Asia and the Pacific

Many countries are facing significant challenges in extending social health protection coverage and improving affordable access to health services for their populations. On the other hand, some countries where social health protection coverage is high are suffering from sustaining its fiscal sustainability. In countries which adopt social health insurance, one of the main challenges in extending coverage to populations is slow increase in voluntary enrolment, where households either do not purchase health insurance, or do so only when anticipating illness. Related barriers are a lack of government fiscal capacity and the increasing precarity of employment, especially in the informal sector. In countries which adopt tax-financed systems, priorities from other sectors usually crowd out required health and social protection budgets. Countries in the region are grappling with key questions on how to improve the coverage, sustainability, and responsiveness of social health protection given the changing nature of work as well as pressures on the government budget and macroeconomic situation. This session invited various actors who are leading the provision of social health protection in their respective countries through different financing approaches to help address the above questions and shared experiences in extending social health protection in Asia and the Pacific.