Health and health care utilization in India: Role of health insurance

Avishek Hazra, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Subrata Lahiri, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

The present paper tries to address the importance of health insurance for equitable health care utilization, and whether health insurance can be a healthy option for health care financing. Before entering into analytical part of the study, scenario of existing health insurance schemes as a risk-pooling mechanism has been portrayed. Using dataset of National Sample Survey (2004) and World Health Survey (2003), morbidity pattern, extent of health care service utilization and associated health care cost have been analyzed. It is further investigated whether health insurance status makes any difference in healthcare utilization. Findings reveal that insurance coverage is very low and restricted to people of higher income quintiles. Although, regression analysis indicates households having any health insurance scheme tend to utilize health care services more compared to those without any health insurance, the paper recommends few mechanisms how best the health care services can be offered to the poorer people.

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Presented in Poster Session 2