Micro-insurance in Bangladesh: risk protection for the poor?

J Health Popul Nutr. 2009 Aug;27(4):563-73. doi: 10.3329/jhpn.v27i4.3402.


Health services and modem medicines are out of reach for over one billion people globally. Micro-insurance for health is one method to address unmet health needs. This case study used a social exclusion perspective to assess the health and poverty impact of micro-insurance for health in Bangladesh and contrasts this with several micro-insurance systems for health offered in India. Micro-insurance for health in Bangladesh targeted towards the poor and the ultra-poor provides basic healthcare at an affordable rate whereas the Indian micro-insurance schemes for health have been implemented across larger populations and include high-cost and low-frequency events. Results of analysis of the existing literature showed that micro-insurance for health as currently offered in Bangladesh increased access to, and use of, basic health services among excluded populations but did not reduce the likelihood that essential health-related costs would be a catastrophic expense for a marginalized household.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bangladesh
  • Community Health Services / economics*
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Expenditures*
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics*
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • India
  • Insurance, Health / economics*
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Poverty*
  • Risk Management / economics
  • Risk Management / methods