In health economics, a health benefit is one which is recognized as providing a gain in terms of reduced costs or increased health.
It is also a term used in some health systems in the technical sense of a service to which specific people are entitled, whether or not they use the service or, in using it, gain in health from it.
In health economics there are two kinds of health benefits.
1. Those that can be recognized as direct savings in treatment-related resource consumption.
2. Those that are recognized as indirect savings. These are savings that are made when medical or other treatment or prevention gets people back to work, thus avoiding or reducing losses in the production of goods and services. There are other indirect benefits that arise from intangible savings resulting from the alleviation of pain and suffering, the avoidance of premature death and disability and other improvements in health.
Technically, benefits can be measured in a variety of ways; they can be expressed in monetary or non-monetary terms and can be weighted to assist summation for comparison of the benefits of different programmes. For example, improvements in health status can be weighted by the value or utility of the improvement achieved. Examples of the measures employed include days of active living, quality adjusted life–years, and disability adjusted life-years. The way in which benefits are measured and how they are weighted depends on the form of analysis, the viewpoint of the evaluation and the resources available for measurement.
World Health Organization. Terminology. A glossary of technical terms on the economics and finance of health services. Internet. Accessed December 18, 2015.