In recent years there has been a proliferation of Community Based Health Insurance (CBHI) schemes designed to enhance access to modern health care services and provide financial protection to workers in the informal and rural sectors. In June 2011, the Government of Ethiopia introduced a pilot CBHI scheme in rural parts of the country. This paper assesses the impact of the scheme on utilization of modern health care and the cost of accessing health care. It adds to the relatively small body of work that provides a rigorous evaluation of CBHI schemes. We find that enrolment leads to a 30 to 41 percent increase in utilization of outpatient care at public facilities, a 45 to 64 percent increase in the frequency of visits to public facilities and at least a 56 percent decline in the cost per visit to public facilities. The effects of the scheme on out-of-pocket spending are not as clear. The impact on utilization and costs combined with a high uptake rate of almost 50 percent within two years of scheme establishment, suggests that this scheme has the potential to meet the goal of universal access to health care.

Additional Metadata
Keywords community based health insurance, outpatient healthcare utilization, out-of-pocket expenditure, Ethiopia
Publisher International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)
Persistent URL
Series ISS Working Papers - General Series
Journal ISS Working Paper Series / General Series
Mebratie, A.D, Sparrow, R.A, Debebe, Z.Y, Abebaw Ejigie, D, Alemu, G, & Bedi, A.S. (2014). The impact of Ethiopia’s pilot community based health insurance scheme on healthcare utilization and cost of care. ISS Working Paper Series / General Series (Vol. 593, pp. 1–46). International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS). Retrieved from