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BACKGROUND: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) can impose a substantial financial burden to households in the absence of an effective financial risk protection mechanism. The national health insurance fund (NHIF) has included NCD services in its national scheme. We evaluated the effectiveness of NHIF in providing financial risk protection to households with persons living with hypertension and/or diabetes in Kenya. METHODS: We carried out a prospective cohort study, following 888 households with at least one individual living with hypertension and/or diabetes for 12 months. The exposure arm comprised households that are enrolled in the NHIF national scheme, while the control arm comprised households that were not enrolled in the NHIF. Study participants were drawn from two counties in Kenya. We used the incidence of catastrophic health expenditure (CHE) as the outcome of interest. We used coarsened exact matching and a conditional logistic regression model to analyse the odds of CHE among households enrolled in the NHIF compared with unenrolled households. Socioeconomic inequality in CHE was examined using concentration curves and indices. RESULTS: We found strong evidence that NHIF-enrolled households spent a lower share (12.4%) of their household budget on healthcare compared with unenrolled households (23.2%) (p = 0.004). While households that were enrolled in NHIF were less likely to incur CHE, we did not find strong evidence that they are better protected from CHE compared with households without NHIF (OR = 0.67; p = 0.47). The concentration index (CI) for CHE showed a pro-poor distribution (CI: -0.190, p 

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Equity Health

Publication Date





Financial risk protection, Health expenditure, Health insurance, Kenya, Non-communicable diseases, Humans, Kenya, Prospective Studies, National Health Programs, Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, Financial Management, Health Expenditures, Catastrophic Illness, Insurance, Health