The Health Insurance Fund was established in 2005 by Kees Storm and PharmAccess Foundation. A number of events led to the establishment of the Health Insurance Fund:
In 2000 Heineken and Zain (former Celtel) were among the first international companies to establish integral HIV/AIDS workplace programs for their employees and their dependents in Africa with the support of PharmAccess. Unilever and Shell also engaged in such programs. In 2004 these four companies formed a working group, together with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (which acts as coordinator of the group) and PharmAccess, to explore how they could support development programs, especially for HIV/AIDS. In this regard, this working group explored the feasibility of a large-scale public-private partnership (PPP) for HIV/AIDS and general health care.
In 2004, PharmAccess initiated the Okambilimbili project in Namibia through the Dutch Aids Fonds and STOP AIDS NOW! with support of the Dutch ‘Postcode Loterij’. In this project, public funds were utilized to subsidize insurance coverage for general health care including HIV/AIDS care and treatment in low-income communities and the formal sector for currently uninsured individuals. Through this project valuable experience was gained in expanding access to HIV/AIDS treatment and health care for low-income groups by using health insurance mechanisms. The project has resulted in the introduction of new health insurance products for the lower segment of the Namibian market, and the establishment of Africa’s first Risk Equalization Fund for HIV/AIDS. The Okambilimbili project ended in January 2009.
These developments eventually led to the establishment of the Health Insurance Fund in 2005.
€100 million grant
In October 2006 the Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation provided a grant of €100 million to the Health Insurance Fund to develop and implement insurance schemes in sub-Saharan Africa for a period of six years. Subsequently the first insurance scheme, called the 'Hygeia Community Health Plan', was developed for two groups in Nigeria: market women in Lagos and a community of farmers in Kwara State. These schemes were launched in January 2007.
Currently the Health Insurance Fund is investigating possibilities to start a program in Tanzania. This programs are expected to be launched in the second quarter of 2009.
In 2008 the Worldbank joined the Dutch government as a donor of the Fund, while the governer of Kwara State Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding with the Health Insurance Fund to co-fund an insurance program in the Afon district.
In September 2009 the Fund signed a Leader with Associate Award Agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) valued at USD 20 million. This umbrella agreement consists of two parts. Under the ‘Leader’ part it supports the implementation of regional studies on the Fund’s private health insurance activities in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Fund’s involvement in advocacy and evidence based policymaking. Under the ‘Associate’ part, this agreement enables the Fund to sign contracts with USAID offices in the countries where the Fund operates up to a maximum of USD 20 million.