Sep 27, 2011

‘Changamka’ pre-paid health scheme with M-PESA

The high cost of accessing medical services is setting the stage for the launch of new innovative products targeting the low-end market, offering a new income stream for insurers and health care providers.

Changamka—a product that allows members to receive treatment at designated hospitals for as low as Sh450 per visit—joins the growing list of micro-health insurance covers

Using a pre-paid smart card, members can, at a minimum of Sh450, access basic care for the whole family at select medical facilities under the Changamka scheme provided by Changamka Microhealth.

Unlike insurance, which requires regular premiums, “changamka” is a savings plan where the treatment access is limited to how much one has saved.

Any costs beyond the savings is offset by the contributor.

The minimum is Sh730 under the intermediate category and allows members to visit mid-tier medical providers. The scheme covers consultation fees, treatment and drug prescription.

To ease loading, “Changamka” is connected to Safaricom’s M-Pesa mobile money transfer. The card provides a wallet for pre-paid purchases of health care which is available in a pre-determined price-contracted packages containing consultation,one laboratory test aqnd drugs for a broad range of diseases.

The card is sold for Kshs. 500/= and comes pre-loaded with Kshs. 450/=t and the bearer can then top-up (save) at any time for any amount using M-PESA for use by any bearer.

The  Changamka cards can be used by any member of the family breaking down the individual cover barrier common with the normal insurance covers.

This provision opens up access to all family members and the card can be bought for third parties beneficiaries such as parents.

The use of the smart card technology eliminates paper work which is cumbersome and associated with additional cost for printing and filling the application forms.

The partnership between Changamka Micro-Health and Pumwani Maternity Hospital has lowered the overall cost of delivery with expectant mothers paying Sh3,000 one of the lowest child delivery charges in Nairobi.

According to the 2009 census results, out of 38.6 million Kenyans only an estimated 700,000 people have medical insurance cover.

Changamka is expected to deepen access to alternative medical cover to the majority of Kenyans who are excluded from medical insurance.