AHA! Fellow Dr. Asher Hasan offers New Life to Pakistan's Uninsured

In Pakistan, health insurance is only accessed by the wealthy. Asher created a micro-insurance solution to overcome the disparity, its devastating consequences.

Dr. Asher Hasan saw firsthand the devastating consequences of being uninsured in Pakistan. As in many Southeast Asian countries, health insurance is limited to the wealthy, excluding more than one-third of its 200 million people.

To remedy this disparity, Asher created Naya Jeevan, the first provider of quality, private health insurance to low-income workers in emerging economies. When he left the biotech industry to do so, he had one goal: “to come up with a healthcare model that’s sustainable, scalable, replicable and will help to transform or catalyze the transformation of the healthcare system in Pakistan and subsequently in other emerging nations.”

Naya Jeevan spreads the costs across stakeholders. Beginning with the multinational corporations--the primary providers of employee health insurance in Pakistan--Naya Jeevan cascades its health plans up and down the MNC’s value chain. This includes low-income businesses and workers fulfilling jobs on the supply or distribution side. For example, a rural shopkeeper may sell Unilever products. Unilever can then offer this individual a health insurance plan that is financed by Unilever and the beneficiary.

Asher encourages executives and wealthier individuals to provide health plans for their informal domestic employees. This employer will additionally share the financial burden--on average $2 per month--of the employee’s plan.

The resulting financial inclusion and socio-economic opportunities can have a tremendous effect on low-income families, more than 250,000 of whom had access across 90 companies within Naya Jeevan’s first four years. And it continues to scale, providing its Urdu and Hindi translation, “new life,” to tens of thousands more each year.  

“Everyone should have access to quality health care irrespective of their level of income.”

Asher Hasan has been selected as a Fellow participating in the Philips Foundation's Accelerating Health Access (AHA!) collaboration with Ashoka. Paired with seasoned business leaders steeped in Philips' health technology knowledge, the selected Fellows will receive support and mentorship from Philips’ business talent to support them in achieving their ultimate systems changing goals.

The Philips Foundation and Ashoka AHA! program is an ambitious movement between business and social entrepreneurs that addresses United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 3 (ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all) by scaling social innovation. These social entrepreneurs—selected by Ashoka for their ability to make systemic change and increase access to healthcare—will achieve their goals with support from the skills and expertise of talented and seasoned business leaders within the leading health technology company Philips. Learn more at aha.ashoka.org.