Just under a year from its launch, "Easypaisa Sehat Sahara Health Insurance", which became Pakistan´s first mass-market health insurance product, developed by Easypaisa in partnership with MicroEnsure and a leading local insurance company, has reached over 100,000 subscribers. The product aims to offer a convenient way of improving access to healthcare by providing financial assistance for inpatient hospitalisation and disability, through a new and innovative method of health financing for those in need.
Almost 120 million people live below the poverty line in Pakistan. The lack of access to healthcare is amongst the leading reasons for low life expectancy in the country. According to the CIA World Fact Book (2013), 63% of Pakistanis bear the financial cost of illness by resorting to utilising their savings, borrowing money or even selling household assets to overcome major health catastrophes. These survival techniques leave households in significant debt, making it very challenging to escape the vicious poverty cycle.
Inflationary pressures coupled with meager pay scales have made it difficult for people at the bottom of the pyramid to make both ends meet; consequently such individuals are reluctant in binding themselves to a monthly premium for health insurance policies. Although there are over 50 insurance companies in the country, over the last two decades, they have at best been able to penetrate only a fraction a percent of the total insurable market.
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