A collection of comparative case studies analysing the history, politics and performance of private health insurance globally and its implications for universal health coverage. This is essential reading for graduate students, scholars and policy-makers working on health systems financing worldwide. Can private health insurance fill gaps in publicly financed coverage? Does it enhance access to health care or improve efficiency in health service delivery? Will it provide fiscal relief for governments struggling to raise public revenue for health? This book examines the successes, failures and challenges of private health insurance globally through country case studies written by leading national experts. Each case study considers the role of history and politics in shaping private health insurance and determining its impact on health system performance. Despite great diversity in the size and functioning of markets for private health insurance, the book identifies clear patterns across countries, drawing out valuable lessons for policymakers while showing how history and politics have proved a persistent barrier to effective public policy.