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Open AccessArticle

Assessment of a Voluntary Non-Profit Health Insurance Scheme for Migrants along the Thai–Myanmar Border: A Case Study of the Migrant Fund in Thailand

1
International Health Policy Program (IHPP), the Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi 11000, Thailand
2
Dreamlopments Ltd., Bangkok 10310, Thailand
3
UNICEF Thailand Country Office, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
4
Department of Disease Control, Bureau of Epidemiology, the Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi 11000, Thailand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(14), 2581; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16142581
Received: 5 May 2019 / Revised: 14 July 2019 / Accepted: 16 July 2019 / Published: 19 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health of Marginalized People)
Access to health care and financial protection for migrants can be promoted through diverse health insurance schemes, designed to suit migrants’ needs within a specific context. The Migrant Fund (M-Fund) is a voluntary, non-profit health insurance scheme operating along the Thai–Myanmar border in Thailand since 2017 and aims to protect the health of migrants uncovered by existing government insurance schemes. A qualitative evaluation was conducted between December 2018 and March 2019 to determine M-Fund’s operational impacts, provide recommendations for improvement, and draw suggestions about its role in protecting migrant health. In-depth interviews with 20 individuals and 5 groups were conducted in three categories: (1) International, national, and local partners; (2) M-Fund clients; and (3) M-Fund staff. Interview information was triangulated with findings from other informants, a document review, and researchers’ observations. Despite covering a small number of 9131 migrants, the M-Fund has contributed to improving access to care for migrants, raised awareness about migrant health protection, and reduced the financial burden for public hospitals. The M-Fund acts as a safety-net initiative for those left behind due to unclear government policy to protect the health of undocumented/illegal migrants. Despite clear merits, the issue of adverse selection to the scheme is a critical challenge. Evidence from this evaluation is useful to inform the future design of government insurance schemes for migrants. View Full-Text
Keywords: health protection; health insurance; migrant health; undocumented migrant; illegal migrant; migrant; Migrant Fund; M-Fund health protection; health insurance; migrant health; undocumented migrant; illegal migrant; migrant; Migrant Fund; M-Fund
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Pudpong, N.; Durier, N.; Julchoo, S.; Sainam, P.; Kuttiparambil, B.; Suphanchaimat, R. Assessment of a Voluntary Non-Profit Health Insurance Scheme for Migrants along the Thai–Myanmar Border: A Case Study of the Migrant Fund in Thailand. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2581.

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