ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Shailender Kumar HoodaSubscribe to Shailender Kumar Hooda

Health Payments and Household Well-being

Health policy pronouncements in India currently advocate insurance-based financing mechanisms towards universal health coverage, sidelining the role of comprehensive healthcare provisioning through the public sector. This study, however, suggests that health insurance has been unsuccessful in protecting households from poverty and impoverishment resulting from out-of-pocket payments, and that insurance in fact subverts the effectiveness of the traditional health financing system. Free or low-cost healthcare provisioning by the state remains the best way to enhance the health and well-being of households, provided the inadequacies and inequalities across districts are addressed, and low-cost medicines and diagnostics made available to all.

Health Insurance, Health Access and Financial Risk Protection

Drawing from the 60th and 68th rounds of National Sample Survey Office, this study evaluates the impact of different (social, commercial and target-oriented) health insurance schemes on access to healthcare use, and cost of care and financing of medical expenses. The results show that though these schemes promote access to healthcare, they also increase the costs manifold. The commercial insurers have not been effective at pooling financial risks and seem to be indulging in maximising individual gain. Given the intrinsic market-failure and information asymmetry between the principal and the agents and difficulties in regulating the insurance-base system, this study advocates financing healthcare through a tax-based system which can be cost-effective for achieving universal healthcare access in India.
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