Asher Hasan

Organization: 
Naya Jeevan
Year founded: 
2007
Country: 
Pakistan

Naya Jeevan offers affordable, high-quality catastrophic health insurance and "value-added" services to Pakistan’s population of low-income workers.

Focus: Health
Geographic Area of Impact: Pakistan
Model: Social Business
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 10,000 (2011)
Annual Budget: US$ 470,000 (2009)
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Asia, 2011

Background
In 2007, southern Asian governments spent less than 3% of their annual GDP on public health, and in this region of more than one billion low-income people, access to quality affordable healthcare is prohibitively expensive. Lack of access to proper care has hindered millions from escaping cycles of poverty. Moreover, operational healthcare facilities suffer from overcrowding, underfunding, corruption and misallocation of resources. These problems have left much of south Asia, particularly Pakistan, with a critical public health problem for which few viable, effective solutions have been proposed.

Innovation and Activities
Naya Jeevan (meaning “new life” in Hindi/Urdu) is dedicated to the procurement, provision, and quality control of co-financed catastrophic health insurance for low-income workers, like janitors, drivers, waiters, security guards and domestic helpers. Unlike other micro-health insurance models, Naya Jeevan’s approach allows for the distribution of the financial burden of high-quality healthcare coverage among employers, sponsors, government or multilateral agencies who pay the majority of the premium. The low-income employees only pay a minor cost and are covered in all major private hospitals in Pakistan, with an annual limit of PKR 150,000 (US$ 1,800), the approximate cost of cardiac bypass surgery.

Designed to leverage the ideals of corporate social responsibility with academic, corporate, and NGO distribution channels, Naya Jeevan is able to purchase large group health insurance plans from underwriters at highly discounted rates. It can therefore offer quality coverage to an underserved, critical market of more than 20 million Pakistanis whose income otherwise precludes them from receiving crucial medical and emergency health services. In addition to procuring and providing healthcare plans, Naya Jeevan advocates on behalf of its clients and their sponsors and works to ensure that legitimate claims are not denied.

Naya Jeevan also coordinates workshops, delivered by its corporate and NGO partners, on vocational training, primary and preventive health, and environmental hygiene, and helps beneficiaries negotiate through Pakistan’s healthcare system. Naya Jeevan currently offers its health plan in 40 cities through a network of more than 100 accredited hospitals.

The Entrepreneur
Asher Hasan was born in the UK and spent many formative years in Pakistan. Commuting from the UK to south Asia, he grew acutely aware of how Pakistan’s low-income population lacked access to healthcare and education opportunities, and the inequalities in south Asia’s healthcare paradigm. After studying medicine in the US and receiving his MBA from NYU, Hasan became emerged in the biotech industry, but felt compelled to develop a transformative, replicable model that would address the entrenched problems in Pakistan.