Exploring the effects of financial incentives on health savings
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Despite tremendous reforms from the Government of Kenya and NHIF to improve access to insurance coverage among its most vulnerable population, the health insurance uptake among the poorest quintile remains low. Many studies show that there is a high need for more diverse financial service options (such as savings products) that will help people manage short-term liquidity and long-term investment in the face of tremendous uncertainty in their incomes and consumption needs – unforeseen healthcare expenses being a major example of a significant unexpected household consumption need. This study evaluates the effects of introducing financial (monetary) incentives on health savings’ levels in a context among savings’ groups using a “mobile-health wallet (m-health wallet) which is a mobile platform dedicated saving and spending for healthcare expenses only. The study explores secondary data collected during a study that introduced the m-health wallet savings product among low-income earners who are members of 20 Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs) in Nairobi and Uasin Gishu counties. Data from the m-health wallet platform from the 208 ROSCAs members were collected and the present researched analyzed- using multiple linear regression analysis and Student's independent sample t-test - the effect of different types of financial incentives on savings’ levels; and using the differences in savings between rural and urban areas. Findings from the study indicate that financial incentives did not result in increased savings and that ROSCAs in urban areas saved more than those in rural areas.