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Title: Evaluating the effectiveness of the National Health Insurance Fund in providing financial protection to households with hypertension and diabetes patients in Kenya
Authors: Oyando, Robinson
Were, Vincent
Koros, Hillary
Mugo, Richard
Kamano, Jemima
Etyang, Anthony
Murphy, Adrianna
Hanson, Kara
Perel, Pablo
Barasa, Edwine
Keywords: Non-communicable diseases
Health expenditure
Financial risk protection,
Health insurance
Issue Date: 1-Jun-2023
Publisher: BMC
Abstract: Background Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) can impose a substantial financial burden to households in the absence of an effective financial risk protection mechanism. The national health insurance fund (NHIF) has included NCD services in its national scheme. We evaluated the effectiveness of NHIF in providing financial risk protection to households with persons living with hypertension and/or diabetes in Kenya. Methods We carried out a prospective cohort study, following 888 households with at least one individual living with hypertension and/or diabetes for 12 months. The exposure arm comprised households that are enrolled in the NHIF national scheme, while the control arm comprised households that were not enrolled in the NHIF. Study participants were drawn from two counties in Kenya. We used the incidence of catastrophic health expenditure (CHE) as the outcome of interest. We used coarsened exact matching and a conditional logistic regression model to analyse the odds of CHE among households enrolled in the NHIF compared with unenrolled households. Socioeconomic inequality in CHE was examined using concentration curves and indices. Results We found strong evidence that NHIF-enrolled households spent a lower share (12.4%) of their household budget on healthcare compared with unenrolled households (23.2%) (p = 0.004). While households that were enrolled in NHIF were less likely to incur CHE, we did not find strong evidence that they are better protected from CHE compared with households without NHIF (OR = 0.67; p = 0.47). The concentration index (CI) for CHE showed a pro- poor distribution (CI: -0.190, p < 0.001). Almost half (46.9%) of households reported active NHIF enrolment at baseline but this reduced to 10.9% after one year, indicating an NHIF attrition rate of 76.7%. The depth of NHIF cover (i.e., the share of out-of-pocket healthcare costs paid by NHIF) among households with active NHIF was 29.6%. Conclusion We did not find strong evidence that the NHIF national scheme is effective in providing financial risk protection to households with individuals living with hypertension and/diabetes in Kenya. This could partly be explained by the low depth of cover of the NHIF national scheme, and the high attrition rate. To enhance NHIF
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