Barriers faced by the poor in benefiting from community-based insurance services: lessons learnt from SEWA Insurance, Gujarat

Abstract

This paper seeks to examine the barriers that the poor face in benefiting from community based insurance schemes. Community based insurance schemes have been developed as mechanisms to offer protection to poor families from the risks of ill-health, death and loss of assets. While the majority of these schemes focus on health insurance, there are some that also provide life insurance, and a small number offer asset insurance. Evidence suggests that the poorest families are unable to benefit from these schemes though the detailed reasons for this are not yet clear.

This paper describes the results of a qualitative study carried out to examine some of the barriers that the poor face in benefiting from one such scheme. The study finds that the barriers faced by the poor occur at various stages of utilizing the scheme, including seeking hospitalization and submitting claims. Further, the barriers that exist are rooted in some macro-level factors and also in certain programme features. In the final section of this paper, we make recommendations to address some of the identified barriers through programme level interventions.

Citation

Health Policy and Planning (2006) 21 (2) 132-142

Barriers faced by the poor in benefiting from community-based insurance services: lessons learnt from SEWA Insurance, Gujarat

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