Open Access Open Badges Research article

Preferences for benefit packages for community-based health insurance: an exploratory study in Nigeria

Obinna Onwujekwe12, Chima Onoka23, Nkoli Uguru24*, Tasie Nnenna2, Benjamin Uzochukwu123, Soludo Eze2, Joses Kirigia5 and Amos Petu6

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Administration and Management, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu-Campus, PMB 01129, Enugu, Nigeria

2 Health Policy Research Group, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu-Campus, Enugu

3 Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu-Campus, Enugu

4 Department of Preventive Dentistry, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu-Campus, Enugu

5 World Health Organization, African Regional Office, Brazzaville

6 World Health Organization, Nigeria Country Office, Abuja, Nigeria

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Health Services Research 2010, 10:162  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-162

Published: 12 June 2010



It is important that community-based health insurance (CBHI) schemes are designed in such a way as to ensure the relevance of the benefit packages to potential clients. Hence, this paper provides an understanding of the preferred benefit packages by different economic status groups as well as urban and rural dwellers for CBHI in Southeast Nigeria.


The study took place in rural, urban and semi-urban communities of south-east Nigeria. A questionnaire was used to collect information from 3070 randomly picked household heads. Focus group discussions were used to collect qualitative data. Data was examined for links between preferences for benefit packages with SES and geographic residence of the respondents.


Respondents in the rural areas and in the lower SES preferred a comprehensive benefit package which includes all inpatient, outpatient and emergencies services, while those in urban areas as well as those in the higher SES group showed a preference for benefit packages which will cover only basic disease control interventions.


Equity concerns in preferences for services to be offered by the CBHI scheme should be addressed for CBHI to succeed in different contexts.