Many families around the world make sizable out-of-pocket payments for health care. We calculated the frequency of borrowing money or selling assets to buy health services in forty low- and middle-income countries and estimated how various factors are associated with these coping strategies. The data represented a combined population of 3.66 billion, or 58 percent of the world's population. On average, 25.9 percent of households borrowed money or sold items to pay for health care. The risk was higher among the poorest households and in countries with less health insurance. Health systems in developing countries are failing to protect families from the financial risks of seeking health care.
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