Estimating and Comparing Health and Financial Risk Protection Outcomes in Economic Evaluations
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionValue in Health. 2022, 25 (2), 238-246. 10.1016/j.jval.2021.08.004
Objectives Improving health and financial risk protection (FRP, the prevention of medical impoverishment) and their distributions is a major objective of national health systems. Explicitly describing FRP and disaggregated (eg, across socioeconomic groups) impact of health interventions in economic evaluations can provide decision makers with a broader set of health and financial outcomes to compare and prioritize interventions against each other. Methods We propose methods to synthesize such a broader set of outcomes by estimating and comparing the distributions in both health and FRP benefits procured by health interventions. We build on benefit-cost analysis frameworks and utility-based models, and we illustrate our methods with the case study of universal public finance (financing by government regardless of whom an intervention is targeting) of disease treatment in a low- and middle-income country setting. Results Two key findings seem to emerge: FRP is critical when diseases are less lethal (eg, case fatality rates <1% or so), and quantitative valuation of inequality aversion across income groups matters greatly. We recommend the use of numerous sensitivity analyses and that all distributional health and financial outcomes be first presented in a disaggregated form (before potential subsequent aggregation). Conclusions Estimation approaches such as the one we propose provide explicit disaggregated considerations of equity, FRP, and poverty impact for the development of health sector policies, with high relevance for population-based preventive measures.