Only 500,000 Ugandans have access to medical cover, says report 

Whereas there has been growth in medical insurance, coverage remains low and is largely urban based. Photo / File  

What you need to know:

  • Only 1 percent of Uganda's about 45 million people have access to medical insurance 

A report has highlighted the disparity in access to medical insurance with only 500,000 Ugandans, out of 45 million people, insured. 

Mr Jonan Kisakye, the Uganda Insurance Association chief executive officer, while presenting the initial findings noted that it represents only 1 percent of the country’s total population. 

The report shows medical insurance remains one of the biggest contributors to growth of insurance with a contribution of Shs85b gross written premiums in the first quarter of 2023, and Shs19b in monthly claims were made to service providers in 2022. 

However, Mr Kisakye indicated that the findings presented from the report were unaudited pending approval of Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA). However, he noted that a large number of Ugandans receiving medical insurance are urban based, and in formal employment, which locks out a big number of rural-based Ugandans. 

This, he said, presents industry players an opportunity to cover rural folks that speaks to the 99 percent disparity. 

“We gave monthly claims of Shs19b to service providers last year, and that speaks to the potential of medical insurance, but majority of the working population are not be able to cover,” Mr Kisakye said at the launch of the Smart Access App in Kampala yesterday, which is expected to ease medical insurers and onboarding clients.

The introduction of Smart Access technology is also expected to increase the number of people enrolling for insurance and become a gold mine for data driven decisions in insurance. 

Smart Access is a mobile technology, which allows individuals under medical insurance to access care without carrying an insurance card with them.

The app is designed with several features such as search and location of nearest medical service provider, and patients will be able to take control of their medical cover with their respective insurance providers via the app. 

Ms Judy Mugoya, the Smart Applications International country manager, said currently, they have 255,000 people in more than 90 districts using the technology and more than 30 insurance service providers have already communicated to their clients on the new innovation. 

She also said that 728 health facilities now recognise their application as a mode of access to services, adding that even feature phones will be able to access the service and initiate hospital visits.  

“A person travelling through 11 countries [of our operations] can access healthcare using the app,” Ms Mugoya said, noting that Smart Applications has major operations in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, DR Congo, Cameroon, South Sudan, Somalia and Somaliland, Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania.