ampath - web

Using mobile technology to improve access to health insurance in Kenya

Established in 2000 as a collaboration of Moi Teaching Hospital and a US academic medical program, AMPATH provides health care for the poor at over 80 health centers in western Kenya. Our project aimed to help the non-profit and its collaborators, which included the public sector, refine the design and attributes of mobile-phone based health insurance for informal sector workers who otherwise have little access to needed hospital services. The team explored pricing options in depth, visiting many rural communities to conduct first-hand research.

To launch Zuri, a novel mobile app designed to enable informal workers to buy health insurance, AMPATH needed to asses pricing options for the product. The goal was to maximize affordability while producing income for AMPATH, which in turn could help reduce its reliance on international aid.

GlobalHealth Lab students designed and conducted a study in three western Kenyan sites. Their interviews revealed greater appeal of the new product than had been previously assumed. To define the specific offering, the team devised a pricing strategy based on their study of willingness to pay. The National Hospital Insurance Fund—AMPATH’s partner in the effort—and Zuri moved forward with the team’s pricing recommendation.

The team also developed a high-level retention strategy for consumers, recognizing that for a sustainable funding model, it’s important for people not only to enroll, but also to continue to pay premiums to gain access to care.