Can Insurers Improve Healthcare Quality? Evidence from a Community Microinsurance Scheme in India

September 2010
By Jonathan Bauchet, Aparna Dalal, Parimal Mayasudhakar, Jonathan Morduch, Ralf Radermacher 

Can Insurers Improve Healthcare Quality? Evidence from a Community Microinsurance Scheme in India
We investigate whether microinsurers can help improve the quality of healthcare, and not just its price. We study Indian patients who had a caesarean section, appendectomy, hysterectomy, or abdominal hernia surgery. We compare indicators of facility’s infrastructure; doctor’s qualification and knowledge; process of care; and patient satisfaction. Two thirds of insured patients contacted the insurer about their choice of provider. They are directed towards facilities that are part of the insurer’s network, which have better infrastructure than non-network facilities. Being insured, however, is not significantly associated with receiving better-quality care, even when controlling for several patient and facility characteristics.