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The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-363) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
SH designed and conducted the study, and drafted the manuscript. PB contributed to data analysis and interpretation. BK contributed to the design and the review of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Financial barriers are a recognized major bottleneck of access and use of health services. The aim of this study was to assess effectiveness of a community based health insurance (CBHI) scheme on utilization of health services as well as on mortality and morbidity.
Data were collected from April to December 2007 from the Nouna’s Demographic Surveillance System on overall mortality, utilization of health services, household characteristics, distance to health facilities, membership in the Nouna CBHI. We analyzed differentials in overall mortality and selected maternal health process measures between members and non-members of the insurance scheme.
After adjusting for covariates there was no significant difference in overall mortality between households who could not have been members (because their area was yet to be covered by the stepped-wedged scheme), non-members but whose households could have been members (areas covered but not enrolled), and members of the insurance scheme. The risk of overall mortality increased significantly with distance to health facility (35% more outside Nouna town) and with education level (37% lower when at least primary school education achieved in households).
There was no statistically significant difference in overall mortality between members and non-members. The enrolment rates remain low, with selection bias. It is important that community based health insurances, exemptions fees policy and national health insurances be evaluated on prevention of deaths and severe morbidities instead of on drop-out rates, selection bias, adverse selection and catastrophic payments for health care only. Effective social protection will require national health insurance.