• Burmese Migrants Construction Thailand Maesot Hospital
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  • Burmese Migrants Construction Thailand Market

The Migrant Fund (M-FUND): low-cost health insurance for migrants

Dreamlopments has launched the M-FUND, a low-cost not-for-profit health insurance for migrants in Thailand, to empower this underserved population to self-establish sustainable access to quality health care services. We ultimately aim to extend this service to other migrants and underserved communities in Asia, and create a regional cross-protection scheme of health access and development.

“Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.” W. Clement Stone

Over three million migrants are estimated to be living in Thailand, half of them unregistered. Most come from Myanmar and many live along the Thai-Myanmar border. Although registered migrants are entitled to the government Migrant Health Insurance (MHI) or Social Security Scheme (SSS), coverage among this group is low (50-60%), and unregistered migrants are not eligible. Access to health care in Myanmar depends mainly on out-of-pocket payment. Millions of migrants and other vulnerable communities in other countries in Asia have limited access to health care.

In 2015, Dreamlopments conducted initial field research among migrants in Tak province (Thai-Myanmar border) that identified barriers to uptake of the MHI, and strong interest for a concept of needs-tailored, private low-cost health insurance.
In 2016 we conducted a full feasibility assessment of setting-up this project, which among other tasks included doing a financial feasibility modelling with a micro-insurance expert, engaging with the central and local health authorities, forming a network of partner hospitals and clinics in the designated pilot area, and working with migrant communities to refine the services needed. 
In 2017 We completed the project design and we have now raised the resources to begin. The project was launched in August 2017. We operate through a network of Community Workers offering peer-information and community-based voluntary enrollment. We will propose a premium of 100 Thai Bahts (US$ 2.8) per person per month (average daily wage in the project area = 180 THB/day), which pretty comprehensive health care services through an extended network of partner health care providers.

““I am poor, I don’t have a lot of money. Before, I would always worry when someone in my house got sick. We would wait for the sickness to go away. Now I can take my family to get treated in the hospital with a good service” M-FUND member in Mae Sot.

Currently we are running this project in a pilot area along the Thai-Myanmar border, and aim to enroll 50,000 persons within 3 years. In a second phase (to overlap with phase 1), we will extend this project to other areas in the country. Our longer-term vision is to replicate this service in other countries in Asia and federate migrants and other marginalized communities into a regional cross-protection health access and development scheme.

We project to reach financial sustainability after 3 years of operations, and are currently working to raise US$ 286,000 (~10,010,000 Thai Bahts) to support the first year of operations, from private individual donations, institutional grants, corporate support and philanthropic capital investment. UNICEF has already provided us support to conduct the 6-months pilot phase of implementation of the project. New philanthropic investors have joined us, we have increased our capital and are engaging these funds.

For more information, to provide comments and ideas, please contact us through the Ideas & Contact page.

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