The Challenge

Many JLN member countries are promoting access to high-quality primary health care (PHC) services in their pursuit of universal health coverage (UHC). A key step is often defining a PHC benefits package, but for that package to work well, policymakers have found they must address various complementary policies simultaneously, creating holistic health benefits policies.

Methods such as health technology assessments exist to help policymakers determine relative cost-effectiveness of goods and services for a PHC benefits package, but there is a lack of practical guidance on how to align these with available resources, policies, practices, and stakeholders in a particular health system.

For example, how can policymakers align promised coverage for caesarian section deliveries with limited availability of anesthesiologists; or promotion of preventive services with existing practices that heavily incentivize hospital care-seeking? As they design or revise a PHC package, JLN members want to know where to start, what to consider, and how to proceed amid these many interrelated and moving parts.

The Opportunity

JLN member countries convened the Health Benefits Policy (HBP) collaborative because they believed joint learning could help them bridge this resource gap—for themselves in the short term and for others in the future.

The objective of the collaborative is to co-develop roadmaps and guidance based on lessons learned from countries in various stages of PHC-oriented benefits policy reform. Participating policymakers can learn and adapt successful strategies immediately as they co-develop these resources, connect them with existing global best-practices and expertise on benefits package design, and share final products with peer countries.

What Are Health Benefits Policies?

Put simply, health benefits policies (HBP) comprise a government’s strategy and policies to ensure coverage of access to primary health care services.

Effective HBPs clearly articulate objectives of PHC-oriented policies, use those objectives to define a PHC benefits package and deploy a range of complementary policies to ensure coverage of access to services in the package.

​Next Steps for the Health Benefits Policy Collaborative

The HBP collaborative developed a roadmap/framework in 2015-16 through several in-person and virtual meetings, which combined international expert advice and JLN member country experience.

Several collaborative teams will next apply the framework in their countries to
generate useful recommendations for themselves or other domestic policymakers
involved in HBP reform. These case studies will be written by policy advisors and
experts who have recently concluded or are currently revising primary care benefits policies.

The policymakers will document their experience engaging with the HBP Framework domains, explain the challenges they faced, and the solutions created to overcome barriers to success—sharing findings with peer teams from other countries as they work.

Ultimately, the HBP collaborative plans to use these case studies to “crowdsource” a resource compendium for policymakers currently addressing their own PHC benefits policies.

Technical Facilitators

Nathan Blanchet

Aaron Pervin

Past Events

World Innovation Summit for Health 2018

Tuesday 11/13/18 – Wednesday 11/14/18
Location: Doha, Qatar

For the fourth time, the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), an initiative of the

JLN at the Health Systems Research Symposium

Monday 10/08/18 – Friday 10/12/18
Location: Liverpool, UK

Experience the power of joint learning firsthand through a guided facilitation on topics critical

Health Systems Research Symposium

Monday 10/08/18 – Friday 10/12/18
Location: Liverpool, United Kingdom

The Global Symposium on Health Systems Research is organized every two years by Health

World Health Summit 2018

Sunday 10/14/18 – Tuesday 10/16/18
Location: Berlin, Germany

Since it was launched in 2009, the World Health Summit has brought together stakeholders and decision-makers

International Society for Quality in Health Care 35th International Conference

Sunday 09/23/18 – Wednesday 09/26/18
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Through its annual international conferences, the International Society for Quality in Health Care

JLN Knowledge Products

UHC Primary Health Care Self-Assessment Tool

A multi-stakeholder survey design to help countries assess whether their health financing approaches are well aligned with primary care initiatives.

Related Resources

JLN Health Benefits Policy Collaborative Resources

Locate resources from the Health Benefits Policy collaborative