Health insurance provisions in community micro finance : a community case study.
Micro Finance Institutions are being advocated as vehicles to provide poor people with loans to start business enterprises. Micro Health Insurance is offered to insure against the risk of ill-health in the enterprise. An interesting aspect of this initiative is that it is donor driven to service the needs of the poor and the 'unbankable.' However, it was the researcher's considered view that it may not be easy to build a sustainable Micro Health Insurance Scheme for poorer people. The study thus sought to explore the possibility of developing a sustainable Micro Health Insurance Scheme in the context of acute poverty, free health care, the burden of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, the growing informal sector, erratic and unreliable incomes and the nature of risks faced by these prospective clients. To develop a thorough understanding of the subject matter, extensive reading was carried out. The researcher then designed an interviewer-administered questionnaire. The study had a total of 34 respondents, most of whom where members of a Financial Service Co-operatives, which are community-banking structures that provide a range of financial products for poorer people and those in the informal economy. It is clear from the study that these people are faced with a number of risks. There are several problems that may affect the possibility of building a sustainable health insurance scheme. The present study does not provide any statistical evidence but explores the theme of using the concept of risk and vulnerability to understand the poverty in which Micro Finance and Micro Health Insurance is located. The study provides an array of policy options that can be explored to provide for the health care needs of poorer people, as well as suggestions for future research.