Multi-Layered Catastrophic Health Spending of Inpatient Women by Broad Group of Diseases in India

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Manali Swargiary
Hemkhothang Lhungdim
Mrinmoy Pratim Bharadwaz


Healthcare for Indian women needs prioritizing, as they continue to face social and economic discrimination over their healthcare, often with high out-of-pocket payments. The study examines the amount inpatient women have to pay for treatment of major diseases, re-classified into four groups as infectious, reproductive, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and disabilities & injuries, across the country to comprehend the extent of catastrophic health spending (CHS) they experienced. The study is based on India’s 75th round of the National Sample Survey (NSS), i.e., Household Social Consumption: Health (2017-2018), consisting of 26,938 inpatient women aged 12 and above from India's urban and rural areas. We examine the prevalence of the four categories of diseases by individual, household, community, and healthcare characteristics. Expenditure estimates were derived from cross-tabulation, followed by binary logistic regression to assess the association between covariates and inpatient expenditures for the diseases. Indian women are more likely to be hospitalized for infectious diseases (43%), but the burden of CHS (overall) is highest for disabilities and injuries (INR 24,414), followed by NCDs (INR 23,053). Duration of hospitalization and possession of health insurance by women indicate maximum variation with medical spending. Almost 97% of women have incurred out-of-pocket expenditure on hospitalization, from which we identify three layers of CHS. A substantial proportion of women (23 to 50%) experienced CHS, i.e., up to 0-10%, 11-30%, and >30%, which varies distinctively by place of residence and across the six regions. Covariates like age, economic status, and healthcare are highly significant and associated with disease-wise CHS thresholds. Women in India face divergent financial hardships for healthcare. Given the heterogeneity of morbidities and socio-economic characteristics, the need for women-sensitive public health services and interventions are evident.


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Manali Swargiary, Department of Public Health & Mortality Studies, International Institute for Population Sciences, India

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