May 2014 IFC; IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced an agreement with the Centre International de Développement et de Recherche to expand micro health insurance in Senegal to low-income and informally employed individuals.
More than 65 percent of the population of Senegal has no access to health insurance. Low levels of public funding for health coupled with an absence of affordable health insurance have left large parts of the population of Senegal facing high unexpected health expenditures when accidents or serious illness occur. Such expenditures can cause households to depend primarily on credit to fund high healthcare costs, increasing levels of indebtedness and poverty.
David Crush, Manager of IFC Access to Finance in Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “By increasing the capacity of insurance companies to provide affordable health insurance to people with low incomes and those employed informally, the project will complement public sector health initiatives in Senegal and begin to fill the gap of the more than 65 percent of the population who have no access to health coverage.”
The three year project is expected to provide low-cost health microinsurance products to 108,000 individuals. The microinsurance products are offered through third party administrator Pool Micro Assurance Santé, which is receiving technical assistance and operational support from CIDR, and is owned by a pool of six private, local insurance companies.
Affordable health microinsurance products offered by the private sector on a co-pay basis are a first in the West Africa Monetary and Economic Union region. This pilot in Senegal may be replicated in other countries based on the experience.
Eric Levoy, West Africa Regional Director for CIDR, said, “This project introduces health microinsurance products aimed at increasing access to health services in Senegal, reducing out of pocket spending on catastrophic health events, and lowering dependence on informal sources of financing following health shocks.”
The project has also received support from the Agence Française de Développement and the International Labour Organization.