Health Reinsurance as a Human Right

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Health reinsurance as a public policy measure aims to off-load the expensive costs of those who are catastrophically ill onto the best risk bearer, often the state. The benefits ripple out, helping not just those with the highest health costs but also the broader public by helping to render health coverage more widely affordable and accessible. The health and human rights discourse ought to include the notion that we all enjoy a core health right to the state’s performance of its reinsurance function. First, the features of reinsurance map well onto those of the right to health specified in the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights and the associated General Comments. These texts suggest particular concern for the vulnerable and give attention to covariant risks, the promotion of equitable distribution, and state action that ensures the underlying conditions for a strong health system. This book chapter explains how government-sponsored health reinsurance also addresses these same concerns and is instrumental in creating stable background conditions for the organization of broad health provision. I further argue that understanding the core right to health as including reinsurance helps soften certain tensions that afflict the concept of “the minimum core.” Reinsurance helps bridge the tension (1) between context sensitivity and universalizability and (2) between individually claimable rights and broader systemic duties. I illustrate these advantages using the experiences that various countries around the world have had with health reinsurance as a policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIDA Europe Research Series on Insurance Law and Regulation
PublisherSpringer-Verlag Italia s.r.l.
Number of pages28
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAIDA Europe Research Series on Insurance Law and Regulation
ISSN (Print)2662-1770
ISSN (Electronic)2662-1789

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law


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