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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-20

Economic and social impact of out-of-pocket expenditure on households of patients attending public hospitals

1 Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India
2 Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition Unit, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi 110029, India

Correspondence Address:
Anoop Saraya
Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition Unit, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi 110029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 28731001

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Background. We aimed to generate evidence on the social and economic impact of out-of-pocket expenses incurred by households on illness. Methods. We did a hospital-based cross-sectional study including a convenience sample of 374 inpatients and outpatients. Results. The median illness expenditure was the same (₹62 500) for inpatients and outpatients. Of all respondents, 51.3% among the rural and 65.5% among the urban patients were employed before illness, but after illness only 24.4% among the rural and 23.4% among the urban patients remained in employment. The proportion of rural households of different socioeconomic categories that experienced decrease in expenditure on food, education and health, and those who had to sell land or cattle, and the education of whose children suffered was statistically significant. The proportion of indebted families in different socioeconomic classes was also statistically significant among both rural and urban patients. The lowest socioeconomic strata depended mostly upon the financial support of their friends to tide over the financial crisis of an illness. Conclusion. Our study shows that out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare are a burden not only for the poor but also the middle classes.

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