India ranks sixth among out of pocket spenders on health

As per a recent survey by The Lancet, a British medical Journal and analysis by IndiaSpend, Indians were reported to be the sixth biggest out of pocket spenders in the low-middle income group of 50 nations surveyed in the year 2014.

Reports informed that the British medical journal conducted two studies all across 184 nations on the matters of public and private spending on health sectors. Results suggested that among the 184 nations that were surveyed, Indians stood on the sixth position along with Bangladeshis among the biggest out-of-pocket spenders on health matters. The study indicated that Indians were seen to spend 65.6 per cent of private expenditure on health which is specifically 37.45 percent higher than the world count which stood at 28.15 percent.

The study showed that though the total health spending varies directly with development, there is a considerable variation among different countries. The second study though predicted a substantial growth in government spending in low-income countries,  the later one was predicted mainly because the per capita spending on health in these countries did not grow in the pace as it was required.

The reports clearly indicated that in the South Asia region, which comprises of Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, India and Pakistan; Indians and Bangladeshis were reported to make out-of-pocket health expenditure 10.2 per cent more than the region’s median of 55.4 percent. Interestingly, it was also reported that India was found to be top among the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) on the matter and it was also found that India spent the least on public health sector among all the nations in the group.

If one studies the reports carefully, they will get a clear idea that in the public provisioning of health facilities, government’s initiatives on insurance based health programs have largely been successful in reducing out-of-pocket health spending as a share total of household spending.

The analysis predicts that in India, there is likely to be a greater fall in out-of-pocket health spending by 2040 than an average global fall. It is also predicted that the Indian government’s share in total health spending in 2040 will fall short as compared to the world median. Even among the BRICS nations, the Indian government is projected to spend least on the public health by 2040.