Rising Healthcare Cost In India: Affordability & Preparedness

Healthcare facilities in India have considerably improved, and the country is often described as a “Pharmacy Bowl” of the world. Progress has been made. Continuous efforts are being channelized to improve the affordability and quality of medical care for the 1.25 billion+ population; however, substantial challenges, including the rising healthcare cost, remain insufficiently addressed.

Affordability

  • 6 Crore+ Indians are forced to move below the poverty line each year because of inadequate financial protection for their medical needs.
  • Healthcare Inflation is hovering around double digits, and the trend could continue.
  • A Sharp Rise in Medical Care Costs means affording healthcare remains a significant and unfulfilled need for most Indians, in spite of an increase in their income levels and the standard of living over the last two decades.

“While the poorest are the most exposed financially to health shocks, even among those who are better-off, a significant proportion face health-related financial shocks.” (Source: livemint.com)

Rising Healthcare Cost

  • Cancer treatment in India, on average, costs 10 Lakh rupees.
  • Heart diseases cause 25% of deaths in the age group of 25-69. From Angioplasty, By Pass to Valve Replacement, treatment and procedures cost anywhere between 1 to 3.5 Lakh rupees.
  • Kidney failure, chronic kidney diseases require treatment and procedures which cost between 4.10 Lakh rupees (Kidney transplant + post-transplant cost) to monthly expenses ranging from 12,000 to 20,000 rupees/month. (Haemodialysis and Peritoneal dialysis)
  • Major organ transplants, surgeries and procedures cost between 17.5 to 18 Lakh rupees, on average, per transplant.
  • Other surgeries and procedures such as Hip replacement, Knee replacement and Spinal fusion could cost up to 4.5 Lakh rupees.

An estimated 13 crore Indians could be suffering from lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cardiac ailments and certain types of cancer in the coming years. Be it medicines, surgeries or other medical procedures; healthcare costs have gone up.

How many Indians are fully prepared to take care of any medical emergencies and consequential medical costs?

  • Merely 18% of urban Indians and approximately 14% of rural Indians have any health insurance to cover for their medical needs.
  • Only 5% have appropriate insurance cover based on their age, family status and location. Many rely on corporate insurance plans with a low sum insured.
  • Group Insurance policies are generally in the single-digit lakhs and are not enough for a family of four.
  • 1.5% to 2% of the total healthcare spendings in India are covered or paid by Insurance providers.
  • A large % of the population pays medical expenses out of their pockets by utilizing savings and other means. The number has moved from 60% to 80% in the last two decades.
  • Out of 50 low-and-middle-income countries, India has the sixth highest number of out-of-pocket spenders.

The above numbers reflect the lack of health care insurance coverage in India. Many people prefer spending on their healthcare out of their household savings, leaving less to be spent on food, education and long-term needs or retirement goals.

Indian Healthcare Sector is a work-in-progress. It requires rational policies, health schemes and innovations to reduce the cost of healthcare. The solutions could include the promotion of health insurance, price control measures, digital health initiatives, IT-based solutions and focus on “wellness and prevention.”

Healthcare Costs are likely to rise in future; therefore, the wise approach to keep yourself financially protected against various medical exigencies is to buy a health insurance policy at the earliest.

A Health Insurance Policy not only protects you, but it also prepares you for unplanned medical events. It manages your high-cost healthcare expenses. One must choose a trusted insurer for hassle-free, straightforward claim process and insurance services. You may compare policies and go through quotes from multiple health insurance providers before finalizing the appropriate cover.

With Quickinsure, you can compare and buy health insurance for all your medical needs!

(Sources: The Pioneer, Bloomberg Quint, Livemint, ET, British Medical Journal)

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