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Health insurance coverage in low-income and middle-income countries: progress made to date and related changes in private and public health expenditure

Hooley, B. and Osei Afriyie, D. and Fink, G. and Tediosi, F.. (2022) Health insurance coverage in low-income and middle-income countries: progress made to date and related changes in private and public health expenditure. BMJ Glob Health, 7 (5). e008722.

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Several low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) have implemented health insurance programmes to foster accessibility to healthcare and reduce catastrophic household health expenditure. However, there is little information regarding the population coverage of health insurance schemes in LMICs and on the relationship between coverage and health expenditure. This study used open-access data to assess the level of health insurance coverage in LMICs and its relationship with health expenditure. METHODS: We searched for health insurance data for all LMICs and combined this with health expenditure data. We used descriptive statistics to explore levels of and trends in health insurance coverage over time. We then used linear regression models to investigate the relationship between health insurance coverage and sources of health expenditure and catastrophic household health expenditure. RESULTS: We found health insurance data for 100 LMICs and combined this with overall health expenditure data for 99 countries and household health expenditure data for 89 countries. Mean health insurance coverage was 31.1% (range: 0%-98.7%), with wide variations across country-income groups. Average health insurance coverage was 7.9% in low-income countries, 27.3% in lower middle-income countries and 52.5% in upper middle-income countries. We did not find any association between health insurance coverage and health expenditure overall, though coverage was positively associated with public health spending. Additionally, health insurance coverage was not associated with levels of or reductions in catastrophic household health expenditure or impoverishment due to health expenditure. CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that LMICs continue to have low levels of health insurance coverage and that health insurance may not necessarily reduce household health expenditure. However, the lack of regular estimates of health insurance coverage in LMICs does not allow us to draw solid conclusions on the relationship between health insurance coverage and health expenditure.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Household Economics and Health Systems Research > Health Systems and Policy (Tediosi)
UniBasel Contributors:Hooley, Brady and Osei Afriyie, Doris and Fink, G√ľnther and Tediosi, Fabrizio
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
ISSN:2059-7908 (Print)2059-7908 (Linking)
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
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Last Modified:27 Dec 2022 10:13
Deposited On:27 Dec 2022 10:13

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