Boosting health insurance coverage in developing countries: do conditional cash transfer programmes matter in Mexico?

Olga Biosca*, Heather Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Achieving universal health insurance coverage is a goal for many developing countries. Even when universal health insurance programmes are in place, there are significant barriers to reaching the lowest socio-economic groups such as a lack of awareness of the programmes or knowledge of the benefits to participating in the insurance market. Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programmes can encourage participation through mandatory health education classes, increased contact with the health care system and cash payments to reduce costs of participating in the insurance market.

To explore if participation in a CCT programme in Mexico, Oportunidades, is significantly associated with self-reported enrolment in a public health insurance programme.

Methods Cross-sectional data from 2007 collected on 29 595 Mexican households where the household head is aged between ages 15 and 60 were analysed. A logit model was used to estimate the association between Oportunidades participation and awareness of enrolment in a public health insurance programme.

Participation in the Oportunidades programme is associated with a 25% higher likelihood of being actively aware of enrolment in Seguro Popular, a public health insurance scheme for the lowest socio-economic groups.

Participation in the Oportunidades CCT programme is positively associated with awareness of enrolment in public health insurance. CCT programmes may be used to promote participation of the lowest socio-economic groups in universal public health insurance systems. This is crucial to achieving universal health insurance coverage in developing countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
Issue number2
Early online date16 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015



  • public health insurance
  • cash transfer
  • health economics
  • Mexico
  • Latin America

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