A pilot cost-benefit analysis of a children’s spectacle reimbursement scheme: Evidence for Including children’s spectacles in Mongolia’s Social Health Insurance

Ai Chee Yong, Chimgee Chuluunkhuu, Ving Fai Chan*, Tai Stephan, Nathan Congdon, Ciaran O'Neill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background and aim
Globally, 12.8 million children have vision impairment due to uncorrected refractive error (URE). In Mongolia, one in five children needs but do not have access to spectacles. This pilot cost-benefit analysis aims to estimate the net benefits of a children’s spectacles reimbursement scheme in Mongolia.

Methods
A willingness-to-pay (WTP) survey using the contingent valuation method was administered to rural and urban Mongolia respondents. The survey assessed WTP in additional annual taxes for any child with refractive error to be provided government-subsidised spectacles. Net benefits were then calculated based on mean WTP (i.e. benefit) and cost of spectacles.

Results
The survey recruited 50 respondents (mean age 40.2 ± 9.86 years; 78.0% women; 100% response rate) from rural and urban Mongolia. Mean WTP was US$24.00 ± 5.15 (95% CI US$22.55 to 25.35). The average cost of a pair of spectacles in Mongolia is US$15.00. Subtracting the average cost of spectacles from mean WTP yielded a mean positive net benefit of US$9.00.

Conclusion
A spectacle reimbursement scheme is potentially a cost-effective intervention to address childhood vision impairment due to URE in Mongolia. These preliminary findings support the proposal of the inclusion of children’s spectacles into existing Social Health Insurance. A much larger random sample could be employed in future research to increase the precision and generalisability of findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0273032
JournalPLoS One
Volume17
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Eyeglasses
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mongolia
  • Refractive Errors

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