NEW DELHI: Despite liberalization of the insurance sector, only around 21.6 crore people – less than one-fifth of India’s population -are covered under health insurance.
Even among those who have some form of coverage, 67 per cent are covered by public insurance companies, according to National Health Profile 2015, compiled by Central Bureau of Health Intelligence.
The report shows that despite Centre’s declining share towards public health expenditure, it has done significantly well to provide insurance cover as compared to the private sector.
Public insurance companies have a higher share of coverage and premium for all types of policies, except the family floater policies, where private players grabbed 70 per cent share.
Family floater policies allow a family to claim complete insurance benefit for one member, while the policy covers all its members.
Apart from the standard health insurance, around 15.5 crore people are covered under the Centre’s three health schemes Central Government Health Scheme, Employees’ State Insurance Scheme and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana.
A low public health spending coupled with poor health insurance penetration is reflected in India’s high out-ofpocket expenditure on health.
In rural India, almost 80 per cent of out-of-pocket expenditure is on medicine, whereas in urban areas it is around 75 per cent.
The doctors’ fee varies between 11 and 14 per cent and diagnostic tests account for 7-8 per cent of out-of-pocket expenditure.
In 2012-13, public expenditure on health was 1.08 per cent of GDP, which has remained almost unchanged since 2009-10. The Centre-State share of that expenditure stood at 33:67.
India’s public spending on health as a percentage of GDP is one of the lowest among countries of South-East Asian region, higher than only Myanmar, and the lowest among BRICS countries.