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Health microinsurance consumer education

About the Project
Project start date: 
Abr 2009
3 years
País de operaciones: 
Project Thematic Focus: 
Consumer education

Project Basics

Freedom from Hunger is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 1946 and working in 19 countries in West Africa, Latin America and Asia. Its mission is to bring innovative and sustainable “self-help” solutions to the fight against chronic hunger and poverty. Its core activities focus on working with local partners that include microfinance institutions (MFIs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) designing and disseminating integrated financial services and lifeskills training, including microfinance and micro-insurance, livelihood development, health protection, nutrition and household food security, and empowerment of women. 

Although a diverse set of actors is currently involved in providing health micro-insurance (HMI) to low-income people, outreach has been limited, particularly in rural areas. For most low-income people in the developing world, the concept of insurance—to protect against the cost of illness, accident and extended ill health—is new, untested and not well understood. To fill the gap, Freedom from Hunger will develop a consumer education module targeted to poor families on how HMI works, the benefits of HMI as part of a strategy to protect family assets from the financial impact of serious illness, and how to access and appropriately use HMI to access quality healthcare services.

In the first phase of the project, Freedom from Hunger designed, developed and field-tested an HMI consumer education program consisting of short, interactive education sessions called Technical Learning Conversations (TLCs). TLCs are 30-minute group discussions designed to meet the learning needs of poor women, the vast majority of whom have low levels of literacy. The TLCs use stories, role-plays and visual aids to explore the costs and risks of illness, how health insurance works, what the insurance covers, and how to utilize insurance to access covered healthcare services. An adaptation guide to support the implementation and delivery of the TLCs in other countries and with other health insurance products and schemes was also developed. A research plan to evaluate the impact of the module on a range of changes in consumer health insurance knowledge and behaviors—e.g., enrollment and use of services when needed—was also developed with input from Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), the research organization that is conducting the research studies.

During Phase 2 of the project, Freedom from Hunger is working with Sinapi Aba Trust (SAT), a Ghana MFI, and IPA to complete an evaluation of the effectiveness of the consumer education in a real-world environment. The data-collection and analysis will take place over a one- to two-year period in order to assess changes in insurance knowledge; rate of enrollment or take-up; disenrollment; the ability of consumers to access and utilize the benefits covered by their policies; and, if resources are available, to look at the impact of the insurance on health and well-being.

Date of last Learning Journey update: April 2012