Targeted health insurance in a low income country and its impact on access and equity in access: Egypt's school health insurance

Health Econ. 2001 Apr;10(3):207-20. doi: 10.1002/hec.589.


Governments are constantly faced with competing demands for public funds, thereby necessitating careful use of scarce resources. In Egypt, the School Health Insurance Programme (SHIP) is a government subsidized health insurance system that targets school children. The primary goals of the SHIP include improving access and equity in access to health care for children while, at the same time, ensuring programme sustainability. Using the Egyptian Household Health Utilization and Expenditure Survey (1995), this paper empirically assesses the extent to which the SHIP achieves its stated goals. Our findings show that the SHIP significantly improved access by increasing visit rates and reducing financial burden of use (out-of-pocket expenditures). With regard to the success of targeting the poor, conditional upon being covered, the SHIP reduced the differentials in visit rates between the highest and lowest income children. However, only the middle-income children benefitted from reduced financial burden (within group equity). Moreover, by targeting the children through school enrollment, the SHIP increased the differentials in the average level of access between school-going children and those not attending school (overall equity). Children not attending school tend to be poor and living in rural areas. Our results also indicate that original calculations may underestimate the SHIP financial outlays, thereby threatening the long run financial sustainability of the programme.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Egypt
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / organization & administration*
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data
  • Insurance, Health*
  • Male
  • Poverty*
  • School Health Services / economics*
  • Social Justice*