Over 60% of all health expenditure in Cambodia is financed through out-of-pocket payments at point of care, affecting health seeking behaviour and access. An estimated 1/3 of all households in Cambodia hold some form of healthcare-related debt.
More than half of these households experience difficulty repaying their healthcare loans. Only a small minority of rural residents are familiar with the concept of private health insurance. Residents lack trust in the products and are sceptical of the benefits.
For rural residents, private health insurance is typically only available from Micro-Finance Institutions in town centres, offered as part of loan packages.
reach52 started by launching a research project in our partner-communities to better understand challenges involving out-of-pocket payments for health services. We also examined knowledge, attitudes and practices involving private insurance products, working to get an informed perspective on the types of products that would create value for beneficiaries.
We then shared our findings with Prevoir Insurance, a national leader in micro-insurance products for lower-income families; and Forte, the largest insurer in Cambodia. Each of these firms worked with us to craft a set of products specifically designed to cater to the needs of residents in our partner-communities.
These products were included in the launch of our last-mile marketplace of affordable health products in Cambodia, which also includes medicines and consumer health items. This marketplace is operated by a network of women recruited from rural areas, and powered by reach52’s offline-first tech platform.
Our reach52 marketplace area managers visit residents door to door to drive awareness and adoption, supported by community events to educate on insurance and its benefits.
The first successful claim was processed and paid in Q2 2020, helping to demonstrate the value and reliability of these insurance products in reducing out-of-pocket payments for community members.
The growth of our marketplace is supported by partnerships with some of the largest health-focused NGOs in Cambodia as important implementation partners. Insurance services are easily integrated into existing programmes, providing sustainable revenue for organizations, and reducing out-of-pocket payments for rural families.
Since launching in mid 2020, reach52’s micro-insurance products have been positively received with good initial update. Individuals can purchase comprehensive health insurance starting at only $15/yr. From our original pilot site in Siem Reap, we’re now preparing to scale to an additional 5+ provinces.
Our clients have also requested additional insurance products, so we’re excited to add crop-insurance to our current offerings in the coming months. We are working with our research team to quantify the cost-savings and financial protection offered by beneficiaries.
Additional features for our fintech platform will be available in 2021 through our partnership with UNICEF Innovation, including cashless payments, a health-wallet loyalty programme and a self-service kiosk mode for small storeowners.