Microinsurance: Innovations in Low-Cost Health Insurance
11 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2010
Date Written: November 1, 2009
Microinsurance - low-cost health insurance based on a community, cooperative, or mutual and self-help arrangements - can provide financial protection for poor households and improve access to health care. However, low benefit caps and a low share of premiums paid as benefits - both designed to keep these arrangements in business - perversely limited these schemes’ ability to extend coverage, offer financial protection, and retain members. We studied three schemes in India, two of which are member-operated and one a commercial scheme, using household surveys of insured and uninsured households and interviews with managers. All three enrolled poor households and raised their use of hospital services, as intended. Financial exposure was greatest, and protection was least, in the commercial scheme, which imposed the lowest caps on benefits and where income was the lowest.
Keywords: Microinsurance, India, Health Insurance, Low-Income Populations
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