Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe’s health insurance unit, Maisha Health Fund, has launched an innovative and convenient way to register for medical aid cover through the mobile phone as it taps into the informal sector left out by insurers.
The service, which is available to all Zimbabweans by dialling *147# on a mobile phone, is expected to drive adoption through increased access to digital platforms.
Announcing the launch, Eddie Chibi, Cassava Smartech’s CEO, said the financial technology group had made strides in enhancing access to healthcare through paperless, digital solutions that minimise cost, movement and physical contact by members.
“We are faced with a health access challenge because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the *147# USSD platform will curb the hassles, as well as the exposure, that comes from physically completing forms, especially for the marginalised members of our population.
The launch of the service, a first of its kind in the health services sector, could not have come at a better time when the nation is battling the coronavirus pandemic. The service is set to go a long way in reducing infection rates by encouraging social and physical distancing through the use of digital platforms.
“As a group, we are committed to serving where the need is greatest, and we believe through such innovations we will be able to widen access and at the same time ensure convenience, safety and healthcare affordability to many, using technology,” he said.
Medical cover has always been the preserve of those in formal employment and often employer-driven. But with the new service, Cassava is opening up access for all – farmers, SME’s and those in informal employment.
“As a country, we currently have more funeral cover than healthcare cover. I believe with this launch, we have broken a major barrier to healthcare access, as we reach out to more people in more places using the mobile phone,” Chibi said, adding that Cassava’s digital solutions were designed to leave no Zimbabwean behind.
Some of the group’s products include EcoCash, Steward Bank *263#, EcoSure and Moovah, which have addressed ordinary Zimbabwean’s call for inclusion.
Maisha Health Fund MD Hazel Banza said the USSD platform will give customers access to the existing Maisha Health Fund Medical Aid packages, which start from US$8 per month, or the Zimbabwe dollar equivalent.
“With this new mobile phone platform, we have provided people with the necessary tools to access health services anywhere, anytime at their convenience, using a secure platform, thus empowering members to take ownership of their health,” she said.