Health Insurance Coverage Within Households: The Case of Private Health Insurance in South Africa

  • Veloshnee Govender
  • John E Ataguba
  • Olufunke A Alaba
Original Article


Private health insurance coverage within households is declining in South Africa (SA). This raises concerns in a context of growing support both in SA and internationally for universal health coverage (UHC). This paper attempts to advance our understanding of coverage patterns within partially insured households (i.e. having at least one, but not all members, being insured). This paper was guided by the following questions: (1) What factors are associated with some household members being insured? And (2) who are excluded? Drawing from a nationally representative household survey, it was found that partially insured households differed from completely insured households across a range of demographic and socio-economic factors. Significantly, there was a relationship bias; relationship with the household head was an important predictor of access to insurance within partially insured households. As the drive towards UHC gains momentum in SA and other countries, there is a need to conduct similar intra-household-level empirical research.


private health insurance universal coverage South Africa partially insured households 


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Copyright information

© The International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veloshnee Govender
    • 1
  • John E Ataguba
    • 1
  • Olufunke A Alaba
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Health Economics Unit, University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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