In the past decade, the countries of Southeast Asia and other regions have made siginificant progress on the health care front. Thanks to a substantial expansion in the provision of health care as a result of rapid economic development, infant and maternal mortality has fallen, life expectancy has increased, total fertility rates are down, and population growth has declined. That expansion is particularly evident in the greater numbers of physicians and nurses per thousand population and in the growing share of total health expenditures in gross domestic product. ALthough health status in the region could be improved even further - through the extension of primary health care to still disenfranchised groups and an effort to reduce the use of tobacco products - it is clear that much has been and will continue to be accomplished in both preventive and curative health care. Perhaps the greates problem countries have experienced thus far lies in financing the costs of such care. To address this problem, many countries have moved to implement various forms of cost recovery. Because of equity considerations, health insurance is one option that is receiving particularly close attention. This volume opens with a discussion of the important role of health insurance at this time in developing countries. Attention is also given to the macroeconomic context in which health financing takes place in developing countries, the growth of the health sector as development progresses, and the linkages between health financing, health status, and indicators of development. Other chapters are devoted to health financing and the use of health insurance in a set of six countries. Their experience provides public policy officials in other countries with considerable insight into the fundamental ingredients of an effective health financing strategy.