Indian households’ healthcare woes

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The low penetration of health insurance and high health costs expose Indian households, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid, to severe financial shocks, according to fresh data from a large-scale nationally representative survey. The ‘Household Survey on India’s Citizen Environment & Consumer Economy’ (ICE 360° survey) conducted this year shows that 3% of households in the top quintile (richest 20%) faced a health shock that wiped out more than a fifth of their annual income. The comparative figure for the bottom quintile (poorest 20%) was more than double at 6.8%.

The survey shows a similar divide between households living in metros and those living in underdeveloped rural areas. The ICE 360° survey 2016, covering 61,000 households, is among the largest consumer economy surveys in the country. The response period of the survey was April 2015 to March 2016.

The ICE 360° survey shows that 47% households consult a doctor at a public health facility when a family member falls ill while 38% households visit a private health facility; 14% consult an independent medical practitioner. The preferences of the bottom and top quintile households are roughly similar in this respect but the preferences of households belonging to the top percentile are very different.

Source: LiveMint (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
public health