Universal Access

Updated: 09 June 2023

What Does Universal Access Mean?

Universal access refers to the ability or opportunity of people to secure necessary health services without fear of incurring financial problems due to the costs. It is a feature of the World Health Organization’s goal of universal health coverage, which would not be possible without the former.

Insuranceopedia Explains Universal Access

Universal access has three key dimensions: physical accessibility, financial affordability, and acceptability. The first is fulfilled when quality health care services are actually available within the physical reach of people who need them and have service systems in place to allow delivery when people need them. Financial affordability takes into account not just the ability of the people to pay for health services without facing financial hardship, but also opportunity and indirect costs, such as taking off work and transportation costs. Lastly, acceptability has to do with the people’s willingness to get health services. Patients’ perception of the effectiveness of treatments and cultural factors, such as language barriers and the health provider’s religion, age, ethnicity, or sex, both play a role in this measure.

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