Leveraging health microinsurance to promote universal health coverage

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Many countries are pursuing government-sponsored health insurance as a primary path toward UHC. In these same countries, there are private health microinsurance (HMI) schemes sponsored by community-based organizations, commercial insurance companies or others that share many of the same goals as government-sponsored health insurance schemes.

A major barrier to provide social health protection in
many low and middle-income countries is the difficulty in reaching informal workers and their families. Governments struggle to identify individuals, enrol them and collect premiums, functions that HMI providers are well positioned to manage. However, HMI schemes have difficulties
in achieving scale and accessing sufficient resources. Governments are better positioned in both respects.
These complementary assets open opportunities for collaboration.

This briefing note reviews country experiences in Cambodia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Thailand, Tanzania and the Philippines. It examines the hypothesis that government-sponsored insurance initiatives should collaborate with private actors to accelerate the expansion of health insurance to informal workers and their families.