Private health insurance in Africa

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The New York Times offers us 'Neglected poor in Africa make their own safety nets':

Plans in which neighbors come together and create their own makeshift health coverage are the rage in Africa, particularly in the continent's west. Here, the plans now have a significant presence in 11 countries and membership has grown beyond 200,000 people.

Some of these mutual health organizations, as they are known, include fewer than 100 beneficiaries. The tiny group negotiates with a local clinic and forges a better price for care. Others have linked dozens of community groups to produce sophisticated plans that cover 10,000 or more people and offer an array of services.

The article highlights the difficulty of getting government-run funds to pay out, and while the community 'microinsurance' funds are not without fraud either,

...the funds tend to regulate themselves. One requires members to visit fellow members who are hospitalized, in both a measure of solidarity and a double check that the person in the hospital bed is the one on the insurance card.

No word on how effective these funds really are, but of course they are passing a market test. HT to Marginal Revolution; the full piece is well worth a read. Here is Pablo's earlier post.

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