Community Based Health Insurance in India: Prospects and Challenges

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DOI: 10.4236/health.2014.611152    3,934 Downloads   7,126 Views   Citations
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ABSTRACT

The health inequities remain high in India with government and private health expenditures clearly favoring the rich, urban population and organized sector workers and the Out Of Pocket (OOP) spending as high as 80%, afflicting the poor in the worst manner. The focus of the paper is to examine the potential Community Based Health Insurance (CBHI) offers to improve the healthcare access to rural, low-income population and the people in unorganized sector. This is done by drawing empirical evidence from various countries on their experiences of implementing CBHI schemes and its potential for applications to India, problems and challenges faced and the policy and management lessons that may be applicable to India. It can be concluded that CBHI schemes have proved to be effective in reducing the Catastrophic Health Expenditure (CHE) of people. But success of such schemes depends on its design, benefit package it offers, its management, economic and non-economic benefits perceived by enrollees and solidarity among community members. Collaboration of government, NGO’s and donor agencies is very crucial in extending coverage; similarly overcoming the mistrust that people have from such schemes and subsidizing the insurance for the many who cannot pay the premiums are important factors for success of CBHI in India. One of the biggest challenges for the health system is to address the piecemeal approach of CBHI schemes in extending health insurance and inability of such schemes to cover a large number of poor and the unorganized sector workers. Also, there is a need for a stronger policy research to demonstrate: 1) how such schemes can create a larger risk pool, 2) how such schemes can enroll a large number of people in the unorganized sector, 3) the interaction of CBHI schemes with other financing schemes and its link to the health system.

Cite this paper

Purohit, B. (2014) Community Based Health Insurance in India: Prospects and Challenges. Health, 6, 1237-1245. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.611152.

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