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Healthcare burning big hole in Haryanvis’ pockets, says PGI study

In Haryana, people are shelling out a lot on healthcare. A recent study shows that on an average, a person in Haryana ends up paying over Rs 22,000 per hospitalisation and over Rs 1,000 per visit to a doctor. This amount is quite high when compared to the national figure of out-of-pocket expenditure.

At the national level, the average out-of-pocket expenditure for hospitalisation is Rs 18,268.

The study ‘Out-of-pocket expenditure for health care: District level estimates for Haryana state in India’ got published in the International Journal of Health Planning and Management on August 16. The study is conducted by doctors from the School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER).

“The Haryana government had approached us to evaluate National Health Mission policy, so that they can have a holistic picture of universal health coverage in Haryana,” said Dr Shankar Prinja, main author of the study, adding that over 56,000 households consisting of over 3 lakh people across 21 districts of the state were surveyed to reach the conclusion.

They were asked out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures with respect to outpatient consultation within last 15 days and hospitalisation in last one year for Haryana.

The study found that the mean out-of-pocket expenditure for outpatient consultation was Rs 1,005 and for hospitalisation was Rs 22,489. “It means that per visit consultation is costing an individual around Rs 1,000 on an average and per hospitalisation is costing over Rs 22,000,” he said.

Dr Prinja further said, “This is quite a lot of expense which residents of Haryana are spending on healthcare. If we talk about per hospitalisation cost, it is one-fourth of their total earning in a year. For the poorest, it means that 40% of their annual income is spent on one hospitalisation.”

Charges vary across districts

District wise, hospitalisation charges are the most in Kurukshetra and lowest in Palwal. For instance, a person spends Rs 39,000 on an average on per hospitalisation in Kurushetra and Rs 9,000 in Palwal.

“This does not tell a lot about the health facilities in Palwal or Kurukshetra, but the average level of staying capacity of people in hospitals. Variation in district-level out-of-pocket expenditure could be due to the density of private versus public sector utilisation of healthcare as well as the paying capacity of people.

Richer the district, higher is the density of private providers and out-of-pocket expenses,” said the doctor.

Cost in private hospitals almost double than public

Prinja said, “The average hospitalisation charges are Rs 12,600 in public hospitals and almost double, Rs 24,500, in private ones. Similarly, outpatient consultation would cost Rs 521 on an average in public sector and Rs 1,132 in private.”

Highest spending on drugs and diagnostics: He added, “In public sector, on each hospitalisation, a person is spending 48% on medicines and 17% on diagnostics. So, if the government starts providing adequate medicines and diagnostics are made free, the healthcare can be made more affordable.”

First Published: Aug 18, 2018 10:40 IST

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