Healthy reduction

Out-of-pocket health spends must fall faster

Business Standard Editorial Comment Mumbai

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One of the relatively healthy developments in Indian healthcare in recent years has been the steady fall in the average out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE), or the amount patients spend themselves directly at the point of treatment, as a percentage of total healthcare expenditure. The latest data from the National Health Accounts for 2019-20 suggests that India has continued on this trajectory. From a high of 62.6 per cent in 2014-15, OOPE fell to 47 per cent in 2019-20. In the same period, government health expenditure rose from 29 to 41 per cent of total healthcare expenditure. Private health insurance also appears to have grown in this period, from 3.7 to 7 per cent. Over a five-year timeline, this is a development in the right direction.
A closer look at the long-term trends since 2013-14 suggests a strong correlation between rising government health expenditure and falling OOPE. The years between 2016-17 and 2017-18, for instance, saw an almost 10 percentage

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First Published: Apr 26 2023 | 10:11 PM IST

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