Willingness to pay for health insurance in a developing economy. A pilot study of the informal sector of Ghana using contingent valuation

Health Policy. 1997 Dec;42(3):223-37. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8510(97)00069-9.


In the midst of high cost of health care both at the macro and micro levels, health insurance becomes a viable alternative for financing health care in Ghana. It is also a way of mobilising private funds for improving health care delivery at the macro level. This study uses a contingent valuation method to assess the willingness of households in the informal sector of Ghana to join and pay premiums for a proposed National Health Insurance scheme. Focus group discussions, in-depth and structured interviews were used to collect data for the study. There was a high degree of acceptance of health insurance in all the communities surveyed. Over 90% of the respondents agreed to participate in the scheme and up to 63.6% of the respondents were willing to pay a premium of 5000 cents or $3.03 a month for a household of five persons. Using an ordered probit model, the level of premiums households were willing to pay were found to be influenced by dependency ratio, income or whether a household has difficulty in paying for health care or not, sex, health care expenditures and education. As income increases, or the proportion of unemployed household members drop, people are willing to pay higher premiums for health insurance.

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Data Collection
  • Demography
  • Developing Countries*
  • Fees, Medical
  • Financing, Personal*
  • Focus Groups
  • Ghana
  • Health Benefit Plans, Employee / economics
  • Insurance, Health*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Models, Economic
  • Pilot Projects