Health services availability and readiness moderate cash transfer impacts on health insurance enrolment: evidence from the LEAP 1000 cash transfer program in Ghana

Expanding health insurance coverage is a priority under Sustainable Development Goal 3. To address the intersection between poverty and health and remove cost barriers, the government of Ghana established the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Government further linked NHIS with the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) 1000 cash transfer program by waiving premium fees for LEAP 1000 households. This linkage led to increased NHIS enrolment, however, large enrolment gaps remained. One potential reason for failure to enroll may relate to the poor quality of health services. Methods: We examine whether LEAP 1000 impacts on NHIS enrolment were moderated by health facilities’ service availability and readiness. Results: We found that adults in areas with the highest service availability and willingness are 18 percentage points more likely to enroll in NHIS because of LEAP 1000, compared to program effects of only 9 percentage points in low service availability and readiness areas. Similar differences were seen for enrolment among children (20 v. 0 percentage points) and women of reproductive age (25 v. 10 percentage points).