Background: Numerous Caribbean countries are considering implementing National Health Insurance (NHI) and pooling resources to finance their health sectors. Based on this increased interest in health insurance, we investigated the willingness to participate and to pay for NHI in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, an upper-middle-income Caribbean country. Methods: Four hundred heads of household in St. Vincent and the Grenadines were interviewed in August 2012 and September 2012. The samples were selected through simple random sampling, including the stratification of rural, semiurban, and urban communities to ensure the representativeness of the sample. A contingent valuation method with a pretested interviewer-led questionnaire was used. Respondents were presented with a hypothetical NHI plan. Chi-squared analysis was performed to identify factors that are associated with the willingness to participate. Multiple logistic regression was used to explore the factors that influence respondents' willingness to pay. Results: In total, 69.5% (n∈=∈278) of the respondents indicated that they were willing to participate in the proposed NHI plan, of whom 72.3% were willing to pay for the first bid (EC50). When the bid was reduced to EC25, all of the remaining respondents who indicated they were willing to participate were willing to pay this lowered bid. Overall, the respondents were willing to pay EC77.83 (US28.83) per month for each person to enroll in the NHI plan. Age, income, and having some form of health insurance were significantly associated with a willingness to participate in the plan. Conclusions: A higher socioeconomic status was the principal determinant factor for the willingness to participate. This is similar to studies on developing economies. The government can use these findings to guide the successful implementation of the proposed NHI program. People with a lower socioeconomic status must be engaged from the start of and throughout the development process to enhance their understanding of and participation in the plan.
- Contingent valuation
- National health insurance
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Willingness to pay