Willingness to pay for private health insurance among workers with mandatory social health insurance in Mongolia

Ochirbat Batbold, Christy Pu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: High out-of-pocket health expenditure is a common problem in developing countries. The employed population, rather than the general population, can be considered the main contributor to healthcare financing in many developing countries. We investigated the feasibility of a parallel private health insurance package for the working population in Ulaanbaatar as a means toward universal health coverage in Mongolia. Methods: This cross-sectional study used a purposive sampling method to collect primary data from workers in public and primary sectors in Ulaanbaatar. Willingness to pay (WTP) was evaluated using a contingent valuation method and a double-bounded dichotomous choice elicitation questionnaire. A final sample of 1657 workers was analyzed. Perceptions of current social health insurance were evaluated. To analyze WTP, we performed a 2-part model and computed the full marginal effects using both intensive and extensive margins. Disparities in WTP stratified by industry and gender were analyzed. Results: Only < 40% of the participants were satisfied with the current mandatory social health insurance in Mongolia. Low quality of service was a major source of dissatisfaction. The predicted WTP for the parallel private health insurance for men and women was Mongolian Tugrik (₮)16,369 (p < 0.001) and ₮16,661 (p < 0.001), respectively, accounting for approximately 2.4% of the median or 1.7% of the average salary in the country. The highest predicted WTP was found for workers from the education industry (₮22,675, SE = 3346). Income and past or current medical expenditures were significantly associated with WTP. Conclusion: To reduce out-of-pocket health expenditure among the working population in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, supplementary parallel health insurance is feasible given the predicted WTP. However, given high variations among different industries and sectors, different incentives may be required for participation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Contingent valuation
  • Private health insurance
  • Social health insurance
  • Universal coverage
  • Willingness-to-pay


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