Micro health insurance hedges risk for India’s poorest: A clutch of public health organizations hope lower premiums will change the way Indians think about health insurance. (Caitlin Cox, 11/08/06, The Christian Science Monitor)

The programs employ a variety of means to keep costs low. Some require patients to seek care at government hospitals, which are already highly subsidized. Others curb their administrative costs by asking volunteers from the community to handle duties such as processing claims. They buy generic drugs, or grow a garden full of herbal medicines. Even small measures, such as creating identity cards that cost half a rupee (1 cent) to produce, are taken seriously. […]

“We’re all striving to transfer power to the grass-roots, power to the micro level,” explains Dr. Abhay Bang, director of SEARCH, an organization that promotes public health for women and children in rural Maharashtra. “It’s a moment to balance the global with the local.”

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