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Effect of Community-Based Health Insurance on Utilization of Outpatient Health Care Services in Southern Ethiopia: A Comparative Cross-Sectional Study

Authors Demissie B, Gutema Negeri K

Received 15 May 2019

Accepted for publication 9 February 2020

Published 25 February 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 141—153


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Kent Rondeau

Bekele Demissie,1 Keneni Gutema Negeri2

1USAID/Integrated Family Health Program, SNNPRS, Hawassa, Ethiopia; 2Health Systems Management and Policy Unit, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Hawassa University, Hawassa, Ethiopia

Correspondence: Bekele Demissie
USAID/Integrated Family Health Program, SNNPRS, P. O. Box 1383, Hawassa, Ethiopia
Tel +251 916823180

Background: Community-based health insurance schemes are becoming increasingly recognized as a potential strategy to achieve universal health coverage in developing countries. Despite great efforts to improve accessibility to modern health-care services in the past two decades, in Ethiopia, utilization of health-care services have remained very low. Given the financial barriers of the poor households and lack of sustainable health-care financing mechanisms in the country has been recognized to be major factors, the country has implemented community-based health insurance in piloted regions of Ethiopia aiming to improve utilization of health-care services by removing financial barriers. However, there is a dearth of literature regarding the effect of the implemented insurance scheme on the utilization of health-care services.
Objective: To analyze the effects of a community-based health insurance scheme on the utilization of health-care services in Yirgalem town, southern Ethiopia.
Methods: The study used both a quantitative and qualitative mixed approach using a comparative cross-sectional study design for a quantitative part using a randomly selected sample of 405 (135 member and 270 non-member) household heads. To complement the findings from the household survey, focus group discussions were used. Multivariate logistic regression was employed to identify the effect of community-based health insurance on health-care utilization.
Results: The study reveals that community-based health insurance member households were about three times more likely to utilize outpatient care than their non-member counterparts [AOR: 2931; 95% CI (1.039, 7.929); p-value=0.042].
Conclusion: Community-based health insurance is an effective tool to increase utilization of health-care services and provide the scheme to member households.

Keywords: community-based health insurance, health-care utilization, health-care financing, universal health coverage, developing countries

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