Article abstract


Introduction: in Kenya and the world across, health insurance has been reckoned as an important health policy that serves to protect households from the direct financial consequences of health care and meet the Sustainable Development Goal of Universal Health Coverage and Poverty Eradication. However, health insurance uptake has remained to be a major challenge for universal health care coverage especially among Kenyan Muslims who have conflicting religious faith towards conventional health insurance. This study had two main objectives: (1) to determine level of uptake of health insurance among Muslims and (2) to examine the role of religion in health insurance uptake among Muslims.

 

Methods: the study adopted a cross-sectional study design. Post-stratified sampling was used to select 389 respondents who participated in the survey questionnaires. Descriptive statistics, cross-tabulation and Test of independence (Chi-square) were used to analyze quantitative data using SPSS Version 20.

 

Results: findings revealed that only 86(22%) of Muslims were enrolled in a health insurance scheme. Among the 86 Muslims who had an insurance cover, Majority were enrolled in National Health Insurance Fund (65,70.6%) while 21(29.4%) were enrolled in private health insurance schemes. Among the 303 Muslims who had no insurance cover, 285 (94.1%)preferred being enrolled in Takaful Health insurance which is Shariah Compliant. Religion played a significant role on choice and enrollment of Muslims to health insurance schemes. Religious beliefs and Shariah teachings had a statistically significant relationship with uptake of health insurance (p < 0.05).

 

Conclusion: uptake of health insurance among Muslims is low despite the growing population of Muslims in Kenya partly due to Muslims strong religious belief and Shariah laws, which prohibits them from enrolling into conventional insurance hence limiting freedom of individual decisions on the insurance schemes to enroll in. Despite high demand for health insurance products among Muslims, there lacks health insurances products aligned to the religious beliefs and needs of Muslim hence exposing them to hefty medical bills which deepens poverty and inaccessibility to basic health care.