Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Health Security for rural poor: study of community based health insurance

Sudha, venu Menon (2006): Health Security for rural poor: study of community based health insurance.

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Abstract

ABSTRACT For many people living in developing nations, illness represents a permanent threat to their income earning capacity and, therefore, their livelihood .Health insurance has been progressively more recognized as a tool to finance healthcare provision in the developing world. The high demand for good quality healthcare and the extreme underutilization of existing health services have given rise to the need for community health insurance—an arrangement that may both increase access to healthcare as well as theoretically improve its quality. While alternative forms of healthcare financing have been scrutinized, the option of insurance seems to be promising as it offers the opportunity to pool risk by converting unpredictable healthcare costs into fixed annual premiums. The typical dialogue surrounding health financing cites three main types of insurance as viable options to provide care. First is social health insurance, a practice initiated in several European countries where the working population of society provides health funds for the entire population, working and non-working. Social health insurance utilizes basic socialist principles to hold all sections of society accountable for the good of the community. The next type of insurance model is private health insurance, a structure that generally prevails in capitalist societies. Private insurance favors those who can afford to pay regular premiums, i.e. the middle class and the wealthy. Private insurance, therefore, inherently excludes the poor and only provides benefits to paying members. Finally, and most notable in discussing health for the rural poor, is community-based health insurance (CBHI). Studies conducted in various developing countries, including India, show that community-based health insurance (CBHI) schemes are highly effective in reaching poor populations. According to Friends of Women's World Banking, CBHI is defined as "any not-for-profit insurance scheme that is aimed primarily at the informal sector and formed on the basis of a collective pooling of health risks, and the members participate in its management." Such schemes frequently function in conjunction with healthcare providers or community organizations, such as local religious institutions, self-help groups (SHGs), or non-governmental organizations (NGOs).CBHI requires that people make a small contribution (i.e. pay a premium), which is then pooled to provide benefits, such as medical costs, to those within the pool who may need assistance. Unlike social or private health insurance schemes, CBHI is distinct in that it is generally initiated and managed by the community it benefits. This characteristic of CBHI is particularly important as it entails that the features of any specific CBHI scheme tailor to the local needs of the people. Against this background, the present paper attempts to analyze the Public Private Partnership [PPP] model in Health Insurance. As an example of the above-examined PPP, Chaitanya and HDFC-Chubb General Insurance, located in the Pune district of Maharashtra is taken as case study. Chaitanya and HDFC have recently joined in an endeavor attempting to provide CBHI coverage to SHG -women and their families in the Chaitanya field area. Founded in 1993, Chaitanya focuses on the establishment and strengthening of SHGs and development through micro-finance programs. Chaitanya's work has motivated the formation of the Grameen Mahila Swayamsiddha Sangha, the first independent federation of SHGs in Maharashtra. Currently, Chaitanya also carries out developmental activities including water & sanitation, agriculture, livelihood, and health. HDFC Bank and Chubb Corporation, USA entered a venture together in 2002 to jointly offer general insurance services. Specifically, HDFC-Chubb GIC offers a rural initiatives program tailored to meet the needs of the rural poor and offer insurance services at reduced costs.

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