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Title of the item:

Protecting the economic health of the poor in India: Are health mutuals the right medicine?

Protecting the economic health of the poor in India: Are health mutuals the right medicine?
Madhur, Sunit Kumar
Saha, Somen
Subject Terms:
HEALTH insurance
HEALTH products
Development Policy Review; Nov2019, Vol. 37 Issue 6, p843-853, 11p
Geographic Terms:
Academic Journal
In addition to government‐sponsored health insurance schemes (GSHIS), many microfinance institutions (MFIs) and community‐based organizations (CBOs) in India have started microinsurance health insurance schemes. These include health mutuals for the benefit of their members. This article explores these as an alternative health‐financing model in India. A literature search produced 926 relevant publications. After applying advanced search options and removing duplicates, abstracts of 324 papers were read and then 47 papers reviewed, and finally 29 were included in this review. Five key themes emerged: (1) "Health for all" arguments and opportunities in favour of micro health insurance schemes; (2) micro health insurance products; (3) impact of micro health insurance schemes; (4) systematic irregularities and regulatory framework; and (5) innovation. We also look at the emerging market patterns that will define micro health insurance products. Health mutuals can effectively provide mass health protection to the poor and not so poor through efficient business models, bespoke benefit packages and multiple payment plans. They can reduce financial vulnerability and improve health outcomes. While GSHIS can cover a substantial tranche of expected health‐related costs, the balance can be supplemented through innovative financial products that reduce financial risk. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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