While India remains a country with one of the lowest healthcare costs across the world and an attractive medical tourism destination, how much is an average Indian able to afford treatment is another matter.
Here’s what some leading studies tell us about medical expenses in India.
- According to WHO, 70% of Indians continue to pay for medical expenses out of the pocket, in comparison to just 30-40% in other Asian countries like Sri Lanka, and they still fail to get access to quality medicines and facilities.
- The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) reports that expenditure on healthcare has increased from 6.6% to 6.9% in rural India, and from 5.2% to 5.5% in urban areas between 2004-05 and 2011-2012.
- PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) estimates medical costs to rise up to 6.8% in 2015 from the 6.5% estimate for 2014.
Paying through the pocket
At All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ (AIIMS) 40th Convocation ceremony, President Pranab Mukherjee voiced the concerns that majority of Indians are battling today when he said that almost 4 crore people are pushed towards poverty every year because of treatment bills, and it is unacceptable that people have to pay almost 80 per cent of medical expenses through their own pockets.
Why is it so?
According to HDFCergo, paying Out-of-Pocket is the primary source for financing medical payments in India and certain other countries. In 2004-05, it accounted for almost two-thirds of total healthcare costs. While health insurance should be able to recover costs for families, as few as 10 per cent households had merely one member insured.
What’s causing medical inflation in India?
Wait for public healthcare or rush to private hospital?
It’s true that government hospital treatment is cheaper than a private healthcare unit. For example, a single cycle of radiation and chemotherapy at AIIMS may cost a patient a mere 750 rupees, but it is the waiting period before the treatment commences that really pushes many patients to seek more timely intervention at a private healthcare unit.
Specialty drugs, higher medical bills
New drug development or increased efficacy efforts by pharmaceutical companies is continually increasing the cost of medicines.
Better equipment for diagnosis and treatment is a boon, but it starts to pinch when patients have to pay for these through their pocket.
Cost of trained healthcare staff
Better technology also means hiring specialized staff of physicians and technicians to use and interpret results, which again translates to higher costs of doctor visits and diagnostic testing.
What’s the answer?
The Indian solution to the healthcare cost dilemma would be one that offers value-for money to Indian patients. Despite new advances in medicines, equipment and procedures, quality and timely healthcare delivery in India still has a long way to go. Together with family insurance covers and government initiatives to cut costs, healthcare must reach out to every citizen without burning a hole in their pocket.
This is where Credihealth comes into the picture.
Credihealth gives all its patient the best medical treatment at economical prices. For more info, visit the website or call 1800 1022 733.
Image courtesy of [Cooldesign] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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