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BACKGROUND: Cost-sharing between beneficiaries and governments is critical to achieve universalhealth care coverage. To address this, Ethiopia is currently introducing Social Health Insurance.However, there has been limited evidence on willingness to join the newly proposed insurance scheme inthe country. The purpose of this study is to assess willingness to join and pay for the scheme amongteachers in Wolaita Sodo Town government educational institutions, South Ethiopia.METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted from February 5 to March 10, 2012 on 335 teachers.Stratified simple random sampling technique was used and data were collected using structuredinterviewer administered questionnaire. Binary and multiple logistic regressions were used to estimatethe crude and adjusted odds ratios for willingness to pay.RESULTS: Three hundred twenty-eight teachers participated in the study with response rate of 98%.About 55% of the teachers had never heard of any type of health insurance scheme. However, 74.4% ofthem were willing to pay for the suggested insurance scheme. About 47% of those who were willing topay agreed to contribute greater than or equal to 4% of their monthly salaries. Willingness to pay wasmore likely among those who had heard about health insurance, had previous history of inability to payfor medical bills and achieved higher educational status.CONCLUSION: The majority of the teachers were willing to join social health insurance; however,adequate awareness creation and discussion should be made with all employees at various levels for thesuccessful implementation of the scheme.