Business Group Blog

World Health Day Prompts a Look at Universal Health Care


Image may not include most recent
UHC pilots or implementations

World Health Day is coming up on April 7, 2019. The theme of this year’s event is Universal Health Care (UHC), a concept first adopted by all World Health Organization  (WHO) member countries in the Alma-Ata Declaration. The focus of UHC is on primary health care as the core means for providing equitable, affordable and comprehensive health care to people in all countries. Many world governments are committed to achieving UHC by 2030.

There’s no doubt that this is an ambitious goal. The world’s health challenges are vast:  public health needs, women’s health, communicable and non-communicable diseases, mental health and preventive needs. One measure of the effectiveness of health care is whether there are preventive disease outbreaks. If there are, that often means that there is a lack of access to health care, and limited education about basic needs. Ensuring access to meet these needs while protecting against prohibitive financial barriers is paramount to UHC.

How countries deliver their UHC commitment can look different based on their local realities. For example, UHC in Japan looks different than it does in the UK or Scandanavia. In Africa, a trend for greater investment in UHC can be seen. Employers have a key role to play in working with local governments to help achieve their universal health care goals. As World Health Day approaches, take a moment to think about your health care policies worldwide. The following suggestions can help you assess the quality of the health care you provide.

Recommendations for Employers

Understand the national health care system & policy:

  • Be aware and stay informed about local policy changes related to the national health care system and private health care. Do they have universal health care? Is it affordable? Is it accessible? Does it provide quality care? Are all demographics sufficiently included so that their needs are met? Does it cover preventive, mental, chronic and critical care needs adequately? How does supplemental private health care coordinate with the national health service?

Identify gaps:

  • As employers, you can provide health care universally to employers and their dependents. Company- sponsored health plans and well-being programs can fill in gaps in coverage left by national health care systems.

Consider minimum standards for universal equity among your global workforce:

  • Minimum core benefit strategies allow you to define and set a universal norm for your workforce based on your company’s strategy. While covering a particular condition or health need may be viewed as standard in one country, it could be considered “above market” or not even available for inclusion in another country. To afford the same rights of care for all employees, some employers have opted to implement a global minimum standard policy and leverage other purchasing options such as captives where needed

GBGH will continue to bring government perspectives to the forefront of products and services through embassy presentations and other products. Those who attend the Global Summit, will have an opportunity to hear a panel of representatives from country embassies discuss emerging trends, the sustainability of national public insurance and recent policy changes.