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Economic inequalities in health insurance subscription renewal: Evidence from Ghana's National Health Insurance Scheme - P4H Network

Economic inequalities in health insurance subscription renewal: Evidence from Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme

This study on Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) renewal reveals economic and gender-urban disparities, emphasizing the need to address cost barriers and enhance healthcare access for vulnerable populations.


Ghana’s national health insurance scheme (NHIS) is considered a major step towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country. However, over the years the scheme has faced challenges, including subscription non-renewal, that threaten its sustenance. In this study, we estimate and analyse the nature of economic inequalities in NHIS subscription renewal and determine factors that contribute to the observed inequality. Data from the seventh round of the Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) was used for the study. A sample of 40,170 ever insured individuals was included in the analysis comprising 18,066 males and 22,104 females. We computed concentration indices (CIs) and used linear regression techniques to decompose the CIs.

The results show that NHIS renewal is pro-rich [CI = 0.126; P < 0.01] and favoured males [CI = 0.110; P < 0.01] and urban dwellers [CI = 0.066; p < 0.01]. Major contributors to the observed inequality in subscription renewal include premium and processing fees payment, access to information, and economic wellbeing. The observed rural-urban and male-female differences in subscription renewal were explained by differences in premium and processing fee payments, education outcomes, employment status and access to information. The findings suggest that interventions that reduce cost barriers to NHIS subscription for the poor, improve physical access to healthcare and improve sensitization efforts should be encouraged.

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