July 22, 2021

India has achieved several noteworthy improvements in accessing quality health care services. Simultaneously, the healthcare sector is facing some tough challenges to deal with. It includes high out-of-pocket expenditure, low health insurance coverage and low financial protection amongst both rural and urban population.

Challenges of Health Care System in India

In India, the health care system is lacking experienced & well qualified doctors and basic infrastructure, due to which people are not able to access quality healthcare. The total count of allopathic doctors is just around 10 lakhs to treat the country’s population of 133 crore people. Out of the total doctors available, only 10% work in the public health sector.

There are just around 2 lakh hospitals which are largely concentrated around urban areas. However, 70% population of India (approx. 93 crore population) lives in rural area and to cater their health care needs, there are 156,231 Sub Centres, 25,650 Primary Health Centres and 5,624 Community Health Centres.

India accounts for a large share of the world’s disease burden. As per a recent report from India Council of Medical Research, disease burden due to communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases is 33 per cent and the disease burden from non-communicable diseases is 55 per cent.

To tackle the Healthcare crisis in India, the health care industry needs to focus towards making healthcare more affordable and easily accessible to the masses.

Health Insurance- Current Scenario

The majority of population in the country is under-insured and resulting, they have to compromise on the quality of healthcare services.

  • The per capita insurance expenditure on healthcare is the lowest in the world. More than 75% of Indians have no health insurance.
  • Government is providing 88% of health insurance coverage serving masses of the country.
  • Huge urban-rural disparity, as far as health coverage is concerned.
  • Due to inadequate coverage and lack of availability of public sector healthcare institutions, people have to cover over 60% health-related expenses from their pocket.

Recent Achievements

Below given are the recent achievements of the government towards ensuring enhanced healthcare services to the people.

  • National Nutrition Mission: In 2017, Government of India approved National Nutrition Mission (NNM), aimed to tackle the problems of under-nutrition and low birth weight. This health programme will make efforts to reduce stunting (impaired growth and development) from 38.4% to 25% by year 2022.
  • AMRIT Pharmacies: In 2017, 4.45 million patients were benefitted from Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) Pharmacies. AMRIT Pharmacies are proving to be a blessing for cancer patients. The medicines are provided to them at a discount of up to 80% on its MRP.
  • National Medical Commission Bill: In 2017, Government of India approved National Medical Commission Bill 2017, which seeks to regulate medical education and practice in India.
  • Ayushman Bharat Scheme: The world’s largest government-funded healthcare scheme, Ayushman Bharat was launched on September 23, 2018. This health scheme will provide health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family and it will be available to 10.74 crore poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational categories of urban workers’ families.

Way Ahead

The healthcare industry in India is one of the fast growing sectors and it is expected to become $280 billion industry by year 2020. India’s healthcare sector is full of opportunities and business in this industry are exploring the ways that help them strengthen the medical services delivery to a greater proportion of the population. Moreover, the hospital industry is forecasted to become US$ 132.84 billion by FY’22 from US$ 61.79 billion in FY17 at a CAGR of 16-17%.

Government is making serious efforts to ensure people can easily avail quality healthcare services. The insurers are also expected to spread awareness and importance of health insurance cover. They must also launch health plans that cover the healthcare expenses of the entire family at an affordable premium, so everyone access healthcare without any worry of paying the medical bills.

Having adequate health coverage will enable you to access quality health care and you don’t need to worry about treatment expenses as well. Hospitals and medical centers must include technological advancements in treatment procedures to ensure better medical care to the patients. The medical facilities must focus on patient centricity and better healthcare services for all.

The author of this blog is Gajendra Nagpal, having rich experience in managing Insurance Business development in the online space.

You can contact him at: [email protected]

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