autumn 2023
HEL-3007 Health Economics and Policy - 10 ECTS

Type of course

This course is mandatory for students at the Master's degree programme in Public Health. Course students may be admitted if total number of students do not exceed the regulated 30 number of students at the course.

Course overlap

If you pass the examination in this course, you will get an reduction in credits (as stated below), if you previously have passed the following courses:

HEL-3607 Health Management, Economics and Policy 5 ects

Course content

The course gives an introduction to key issues in health economics and policy. The first part explores the concepts of efficiency and equity, and explains how the assumptions of a perfect market are violated in healthcare. By applying basic price theory, we discuss how taxes and subsidies can affect our health related behaviour.

The second part deals with healthcare finance, where we distinguish between the alternative sources of funding, and the different ways of paying providers. We analyze private health insurance, taxation, patient payments, with an emphasis on efficiency and equity aspects. We discuss alternative ways of paying general practitioners and hospitals, exploring the arguments for activity based financing and other incentive mechanisms.

The third part of the course explains methodologies of health economic evaluation, such as cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analyses. Various ways of measuring health outcomes is discussed with particular emphasis on quality adjusted life years (QALYs). Finally, we discuss some priority relevant issues beyond costs and health outcomes.

Objectives of the course

Knowledge and understanding:

  • understand the concepts of efficiency and equity, and explain the key characteristics of the healthcare market
  • understand alternative sources of health care finance, and the various payment systems for hospitals and primary care physicians
  • understand the methodologies of economic evaluation in healthcare, including how to measure health outcomes in terms of quality adjusted life years (QALYs).

Skills and competences

  • Analyze how taxes and subsidies can affect the demand for (un)healthy goods.
  • Analyze incentive mechanisms in the payment systems used for healthcare providers
  • Compare costs vs outcomes, and communicate the logic of an economic evaluation

General Proficiency

  • Apply prize theory to analyze elasticities in demand for (un)healthy goods and healthcare services
  • Apply insights from theories of insurance and voluntary redistribution to explain why patients in many countries face free healthcare
  • Communicate how health economic models can be applied to assist decisions on healthcare priority setting

Language of instruction and examination


Teaching methods

The course consist of lectures, seminars and group work.

Information to incoming exchange students

This module is open for exchange students with a Bachelor's degree (180 ECTS credits) in Health Sciences, Social Sciences or Natural Sciences, or equivalent qualification. For students who hold a Bachelor's degree in Social Sciences or Natural Sciences, the degree must contain a minimum 80 ECTS (or equivalent) within the fields specific to the Master's degree program in Public Health; epidemiology, health economics, biostatistics, health sociology, global- and environmental health.


Examination: Date: Duration: Grade scale:
School exam 13.12.2023 09:00
6 Hours A–E, fail F

Coursework requirements:

To take an examination, the student must have passed the following coursework requirements:

Plenary presentation of a group work on a chosen topic Approved – not approved
UiT Exams homepage

More info about the coursework requirements

Plenary presentation (30 minutes duration) of a group work on a chosen topic (2-4 students per group) to be presented on the second and third teaching week. The teacher will provide a list of topics to choose from. The presentations will be given in English and submitted online in Canvas.

Re-sit examination

Re-sit examination is offered for the course.
  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: HEL-3007
  • Tidligere år og semester for dette emnet