Skip to main content


Mussa, Essa C.; Palermo, Tia M.; Angeles, Gustavo; Kibur, Martha; & Otchere, Frank (2023). Impact of Community-Based Health Insurance on Health Services Utilisation among Vulnerable Households in Amhara Region, Ethiopia. BMC Health Services Research, 23(1), 55. PMCID: PMC9850585


BACKGROUND: Ethiopia piloted community-based health insurance in 2011, and as of 2019, the programme was operating in 770 districts nationwide, covering approximately 7 million households. Enrollment in participating districts reached 50%, holding promise to achieve the goal of Universal Health Coverage in the country. Despite the government's efforts to expand community-based health insurance to all districts, evidence is lacking on how enrolment in the programme nudges health seeking behaviour among the most vulnerable rural households. This study aims to examine the effect of community-based health insurance enrolment among the most vulnerable and extremely poor households participating in Ethiopia's Productive Safety Net Programme on the utilisation of healthcare services in the Amhara region.
METHODS: Data for this study came from Amhara pilot integrated safety net programme baseline survey in Ethiopia and were collected between December 2018 and February 2019 from 5,398 households. We used propensity score matching method to estimate the impacts of enrolment in community-based health insurance on outpatient, maternal, and child preventive and curative healthcare services utilisation.
RESULTS: Results show that membership in community-based health insurance increases the probabilities of visiting health facilities for curative care in the past month by 8.2 percentage points (95% CI 5.3 to 11.1), seeking care from a health professional by 8.4 percentage points (95% CI 5.5 to 11.3), and visiting a health facility to seek any medical assistance for illness and check-ups in the past 12 months by 13.9 percentage points (95% CI 10.5 to 17.4). Insurance also increases the annual household per capita health facility visits by 0.84 (95% CI 0.64 to 1.04). However, we find no significant effects of community-based health insurance membership on utilisation of maternal and child healthcare services.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings that community-based health insurance increased outpatient services utilisation implies that it could also contribute towards universal health coverage and health equity in rural and informal sectors. The absence of significant effects on maternal and child healthcare services may be due to the free availability of such services for everyone at the public health facilities, regardless of insurance membership. Outpatient services use among insured households is still not universal, and understanding of the barriers to use, including supply-side constraints, will help improve universal health coverage.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

BMC Health Services Research


Mussa, Essa C.
Palermo, Tia M.
Angeles, Gustavo
Kibur, Martha
Otchere, Frank

Article Type




Data Set/Study

Amhara Pilot Study




Angeles - 0000-0003-4598-152X