Every year an estimated 25 million households - more than 100 million people - are plunged into poverty when they or their relatives become ill and they must struggle to pay for health-care services out of their own pockets. The Indian health care market demonstrates this well . A health shock often results in an enormous financial burden. One conservative estimate shows that a quarter of hospitalized Indians slip below the poverty line due to hospital expenses. This research brief presents some recent evidence on the incidence of catastrophic financial shocks experienced by the users of public vis à vis private hospitals in West Bengal, where the public sector plays a dominant role in providing inpatient care. It is based on a survey covering 3152 households recently carried out in three districts of West Bengal. Data on out of pocket payments for inpatient care which included all treatment costs (consultancy, drugs, tests, etc.), travel costs, and board and lodging costs (for the attendants) for those who were admitted in a hospital in the last one year were examined.
Barun Kanjilal; Swadhin Mondal; Mukherjee, M.; Debjani Barman; Arnab Mondal. Catastrophic health care payment: how much protected are the users of public hospitals? (2008) 4 pp.