Micro-health insurance pilot in Bangladesh

Green Delta Insurance Company Limited will be carrying the risk of a micro-health insurance pilot scheme to help the Bangladeshi poor overcome the cruel cycle of poverty and illness. The scheme is supposed to provide a ‘cushion’ against risk factors and to minimise healthcare cost of the poor, which can total around of Tk5,000 a year without insurance. While many organisations already offer health schemes for them, they only offer discounted health services, not insurance services.

The pilot-project will run for two years and at least 3,000 households that hold the micro-credit card of three designated organisations will be covered under the new scheme. The two different packages offered are Sushasthya and Surokkha. For Tk240 per person per year, Sushasthya covers outpatient services with full maternity and new born care and for Tk 384 per person per year, Surokkha includes both inpatient and outpatient services with full maternity and new born care.

Given the national finances, it is very unlikely that the health and family welfare ministry can augment its services in a dramatic way any time soon which underlines the importance of alternative health insurance services. According to Prof Ahsan, who teaches economics at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, “there is an ample opportunity for micro-health insurance to be an alternative health financing mode”.

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