Who enrols in voluntary micro health insurance schemes in low-resource settings? Experience from a rural area in Bangladesh

Shehrin Shaila Mahmood*, Syed Manjoor Ahmed Hanifi, Mohammad Nahid Mia, Asiful Haidar Chowdhury, Mahabubur Rahman, Mohammad Iqbal, Abbas Bhuiya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background - Micro health insurance (MHI) has proved to be a potential health-financing tool for many developing countries. Bangladesh also included MHI in its current health-financing strategy which aims to achieve universal health coverage. However, low uptake, low renewal and high dropouts have historically challenged financial sustainability of these schemes.

Objective - This study aims to identify factors influencing people from low-resource settings, particularly those from Bangladesh, to enrol in MHI schemes. 

Methods - The study analyses the ‘Amader Shasthya’ MHI scheme operating in Chakaria, a sub-district under Cox’s Bazar district, Bangladesh. A household survey was carried out during May–June 2016 among 2,000 households from the scheme coverage area. The Outreville’s insurance-demand framework was used to identify enrolment influencing factors. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was carried out to identify significant influencing factors of enrolment. 

Results - Enrolment influencing factors were identified in four dimensions: economic, socio-cultural, demographic and structural. Households with the main income earner having 10+ years of schooling (odds 1.9 [CI 1.2–2.9] compared to illiterate), having financial literacy (odds 1.5 [CI 1.2–1.8] compared to financially illiterate) and being a public/private service holder (odds 1.6 [CI 1.1–2.4] compared to menial labour) were more likely to enrol. Membership in development programmes of NGOs also influenced enrolment decision significantly (odds 1.3 [CI 1.0–1.5]). The presence of chronic illness in household encouraged enrolment (odds 1.5 [CI 1.2–1.8]). Households living closer to health centres were more likely to enrol (odds 2.1 [CI 1.6–2.7]) compared to those living further away. 

Conclusion - The findings are expected to have significant implications in terms of designing similar health insurance schemes, particularly in terms of designing demand-driven and context adapted schemes that have greater potential to attract a larger client pool, ensure effective risk pooling and eventually expedite the achievement of universal health coverage in low-resource settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1525039
JournalGlobal Health Action
Issue number1
Early online date5 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bangladesh
  • enrolment
  • Health financing
  • moral hazard
  • Outreville’s insurance demand framework


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