Impact of demographics, technology and health systems characteristics on healthcare costs among private health insurers in Kenya
Mnyapara, Jebidah Mkabili
MetadataShow full item record
Introduction: There is a global concern on the rising health care expenditure. Several literatures have attributed this to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, disease prevalence such as the upsurge of both communicable and non-communicable diseases, population growth, an aging population, increasing life expectancy, medical progress and technology advancement, sustained increase in medical insurance coverage, waste, public health expansion initiatives, provider payment mechanisms such as fee for service and rising cost of prescription drugs among others. The rising healthcare cost is ultimately borne by the payers of the healthcare system and more specifically to this study, private health insurers in Kenya. This study therefore sought to establish the impact of demographics, technology and health systems characteristics on healthcare costs among private health insurers in the Kenya in order to recommend strategies to address these costs. The conceptual framework adopted for this study sought to establish if there was a relation between the dependent variable; private health insurance costs and the independent variables- demographics, technology and health systems characteristics. Methodology: This was a quantitative mixed study employing both investigative and descriptive statistics; a census based-cross sectional study of the thirty-two (32) private medical insurers in Kenya; twenty-seven (27) medical insurance and five (5) re-insurance companies. Data was obtained from primary sources through a structured questionnaire and secondary data from insurance industry reports and other publications on the topic. Descriptive analysis was conducted using SPSS and data analyzed using mean, frequencies, and standard deviation to enumerate the number of health insurers by variables under study. Correlation analysis was conducted to establish a relation between the dependent variable; private health insurance costs and the independent variables- demographics, technology and the health systems characteristics. Results of the study presented using tables and charts. Conclusion: The study concluded that health systems characteristics factors have a higher impact on healthcare costs among the private health insurers in Kenya than demographics and technology. However, there are some individual variables within the factors that have a higher impact on healthcare costs such as emerging health risks factors (smoking, tobacco consumption and sedentary lifestyles), increasing prescription drug costs, fraud and abuse, low utilization of primary care gatekeeper and advancing medical technologies. Correlation analysis showed that technology and health systems characteristics were positively and significantly correlated which means if the two factors were addressed, the healthcare costs of private medical insurers in Kenya would decrease. The same nature of relationship was observed with demographics but the relationship was insignificant.