Out of pocket healthcare expenditure contributes to poverty, reveals NSSO data

While the recent published paper on the basis of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data revealed that medical expenditure is related to kind of care and location, the government says it is fast working to implement health insurance coverage

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New Delhi: As per a recently published research paper based on cross-sectional analysis of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data, 55 million Indians were pushed into poverty in a single year because of having to fund their own healthcare, and out of this, 38 million fell below the poverty line due to spending on medicines alone.

Quoting the figures, the Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Ms Anupriya Patel mentioned in the Parliament, “It is true that the total expenditure on out-patient care is significantly higher than the in-patient care. Further, as per the 71st Round (January-June 2014) of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) on Health in India, purchase of medicine accounted for around 72 percent in rural sector, and 68 percent in urban sector, of the total expenditure on non-hospitalized treatment of ailments.”

In another statement by the Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Mr Ashwini Kumar Choubey, he mentioned that the treatment packages and the package rates for providing Rs 5 lakh health coverage to beneficiaries under the Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM), have been finalized by a Committee of Experts headed by Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, after extensive consultations with all the stakeholders.

“As such the health coverage as well as the package rates under AB-NMPM are affordable,” he added, “In fact, some private hospitals represented by Industry Bodies and Professional Association have requested to increase package rates for hospitals under Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM).”