HECON4210 – Demand for health and health insurance

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course aims at giving you competence to apply economic concepts and models to the fields of demand for health, demand for health services, demand for health insurance and provision of health insurance.


Learning outcome

This course is about the application of economics to problems related to demand for health, demand for health insurance and provision of health insurance. The point of departure is that the demand for health care is derived from the demand for health. The demand for health contains a tradeoff between prevention and cure. Also the effects of early childhood influences of later life health outcomes will be covered. Uncertainty related to future health creates demand for health insurance. Health insurance implies that the price the consumer faces when using health services is lowered. Typically, the consumer has more information about the probability of illness and preventive effort than the insurer. Hence, the decline in consumer price may encourage a decline in prevention and an increase in the demand for health services. Social efficiency requires that the benefit from insurance be balanced against the inefficiency caused by moral hazard and adverse selection. The analysis of alternative designs of health insurance is an important part of the course.


This course will provide knowledge about:

  • The modeling of demand for health and health services within an economic framework
  • The factors that impact on the trade-off between prevention and cure
  • The effects of early childhood influences of later life health outcomes
  • The factors that impact on the demand for health insurance. Central components are the uncertainty about future health states and the consumer’s attitude towards risk
  • The construction of optimal health insurance schemes. Important keywords are asymmetric information, adverse selection, ex ante and ex post moral hazard and patient co-payment
  • The advantages and disadvantages of different types of insurance schemes


The course aims at providing you skills to:

  • Model the demand for health and health services within an economic framework
  • Model the optimal trade-off between prevention and cure from the individual and the social perspective
  • Model the effects of early childhood influences of later life health outcomes
  • Model demand for health insurance
  • Model market imperfections in the insurance market and their consequences for optimal health insurance coverage from a social perspective


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge


Students should have knowledge in math corresponding to ECON2200 – Matematikk 1/Mikro 1 (MM1) (discontinued). There will be organized an elective week course in math at the start of the semester.

Overlapping courses

5 credits overlap with HME4302 – Health Economics (discontinued)


Spring 2021: Due to the extensive measures that have been implemented to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the study program, has decided that the form of examination in the course is changed from written school examination to home examination. The measure is taken to ensure the completion of examinations Spring 2021.

Written exam (4 hours).



The Board at the University of Oslo has decided to introduce detailed guidelines for all examinations, which take place at the University. The description of the grading should be clear and transparent. This is done to ensure alignment between learning outcomes, assignments, and grading. The Faculty of Medicine has developed a web page with information regarding exams and the grading procedures (norwegian version

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

For students at Eu-HEM: English

For students at HEPAM: The problem set will be given in English. Answers can be given in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade

Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

For HEPMA students:

For Eu-HEM students:

An EU-hem student cannot present her or himself for the examination in a course more than two times. There will be held re-sits for EU-hem students who have failed an exam or who have legitimate absence (usually illness) in January and August. If you are entitled to a re-sit you must contact the student advisor via email no longer than one week after the result of the exam has been published.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language