Health indicators in India may have seen substantial improvements in recent decades but quality and affordable health care services continue to elude the poor. Government provided health services only partially meet the needs of the rural and urban poor in the informal sector and making equitable and affordable medical care accessible to this segment remains a challenge. It is here that community-based health insurance (CBHI) schemes could provide viable alternatives. Four such CBHI schemes, that form the focus of this paper, are sustained by a pooling of resources as well as the regular “prepayment” of a small amount as premium, so as to enable poorer communities to meet high out-of-pocket medical expenses. While such schemes are still in their infancy, to ensure a wider coverage and acceptance, CBHI schemes could be attached to other decentralised agencies of governance such as panchayati raj institutions.
Acharya, A.; Ranson, K. Health care financing for the poor: community-based health insurance schemes in Gujarat. Economic and Political Weekly (2005) 40 (38)