Abstract

Designed as a randomized control trial, the study looked at two methods of providing health education to clients of microfinance institutions (MFIs) as well as a “reminder” session provided one year later. While health insurance education appeared to increase knowledge of health insurance among those who received it, the research indicated no significant differences in health insurance enrollment rates between the treatment groups and control group, by type of education or for those who got reminder sessions. The education may not have had a large impact because baseline enrollment and knowledge of insurance was already high, suggesting that knowledge was not a barrier to enrollment. Rather, it appears that convenience of registration and clients following through on stated intent to enroll, and the timing of making the premium payments are more common challenges for enrollment. In environments where knowledge and enrollment are low, educational programs may have more impact.

Enrollment increased for the studied groups at a higher rate than the general population. It is possible that the repeated surveys, along with the treatment activities, might have served as “touch points” that prompted clients to take action to register or enroll in insurance.