Attributes of Health insurance packages influence decision-Survey

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The individual attributes of health insurance packages available influences the choice and decisions of prospective beneficiaries.

National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA)
National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA)

Knowledge and attitude of individuals towards insurance in general could have an important influence on their decision to either take up health insurance or not.

Also, insurance awareness education would effectively and positively influence decisions of clients or potential clients in choosing insurance packages, a survey conducted on National Health Insurance and Insurance Awareness in Tamale Metropolis, said.

Mr William Kofi Nkegbe, Department of Statistics, University of Ghana, Legon, presenting the overview, said the study aimed at using the discrete choice experiment approach to evaluate the impact of the features of health insurance, and insurance awareness on one’s choice to take up health insurance.

He made the presentation at a data management and statistics workshop organised by the Economy of Ghana Network (EGN), a country knowledge network, to bridge the gap between research and policy makers.

It aimed at presenting the elements of Discrete Choice Experimentation (DCE) and illustrate through a case study in Micro-insurance, how a carefully constructed DCE could tease out the key components of consumer choice and lead to a better understanding of consumer preferences for a wide range of products and services.

It was on the theme: ?Tools for Microeconomics Experimentation: Discrete Choice Analysis: A Case Study,? and was attended by postgraduate students from Economics and Statistics Department of the university.

Mr Nkegbe said individuals had preferences with regards to their health insurance needs which was determined both consciously and sub-consciously by a range of influencing factors.

Also for the available range of health insurance alternatives, an individual will seek to obtain his or her most preferred alternative.

The study showed that higher premium would impede uptake of the scheme and called for improvement in out-patient, in-patient, emergency services, and insurance cover to increase clients? utility and hence increase uptake.

It had also revealed that out-patient services had the highest impact on the model, indicating their willingness to trade-off other benefits for it, hence, respondents would prefer an insurance package with lower premium; out-patient services at specified facilities; in-patient services that cover specialist services, and maternity care.

They also needed emergency services that include transportation and insurance package covering children below 18 years.

Mr Nkegbe said besides, insurance awareness education should be promoted and vigorously embarked on to help enhance insurance awareness and uptake in Ghana, especially among the low-income population.

?Further, awareness videos have proven to be very effective in awareness education and should be translated into major Ghanaian languages and made accessible to the populace.

?Also, in designing health insurance packages, the economic status of beneficiaries should be taken into consideration in fixing premium, since premium at a certain level will reduce uptake considerably,? he said.

The survey also recommended that further studies be conducted in this area using different designs of experiment to assess the willingness to take-up insurance and the type of insurance package preferred among low-income population in the area.

Dr Isaac Baidoo, Head, Legon Preference Analytic Group, Department of Statistics, University of Ghana, and EGN Subject Master Specialist for Data Management and Statistics, stressed the need to find ways to gain relevance to the policy makers.

He said in most parts academia did not get consulted by policy makers on researches they conducted and it was about time to bridge that gap to make ?research findings relevant to the decisions taken to govern us as a country.

?Economics and Statisticians are also Ghanaians and must contribute their research to inform policy measures,? he said and commended the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research for being consistent over the years.

GNA

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