Why do people drop out of community-based health insurance? Findings from an exploratory household survey in Senegal

Soc Sci Med. 2014 Apr:107:78-88. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.02.008. Epub 2014 Feb 12.


Although a high level of drop-out from community-based health insurance (CBHI) is frequently reported, it has rarely been analysed in depth. This study explores whether never having actively participated in CBHI is a determinant of drop-out. A conceptual framework of passive and active community participation in CBHI is developed to inform quantitative data analysis. Fieldwork comprising a household survey was conducted in Senegal in 2009. Levels of active participation among 382 members and ex-members of CBHI across three case study schemes are compared using logistic regression. Results suggest that, controlling for a range of socioeconomic variables, the more active the mode of participation in the CBHI scheme, the stronger the statistically significant positive correlation with remaining enrolled. Training is the most highly correlated, followed by voting, participating in a general assembly, awareness raising/information dissemination and informal discussions/spontaneously helping. Possible intermediary outcomes of active participation such as perceived trustworthiness of the scheme management/president; accountability and being informed of mechanisms of controlling abuse/fraud are also significantly positively correlated with remaining in the scheme. Perception of poor quality of health services is identified as the most important determinant of drop-out. Financial factors do not seem to determine drop-out. The results suggest that schemes may be able to reduce drop-out and increase quality of care by creating more opportunities for more active participation. Caution is needed though, since if CBHI schemes uncritically fund and promote participation activities, individuals who are already more empowered or who already have higher levels of social capital may be more likely to access these resources, thereby indirectly further increasing social inequalities in health coverage.

Keywords: Community-based health insurance; Cross-sectional survey; Drop-out; Insurance coverage; Participation; Senegal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Community Participation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Senegal
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires