COVID-19 reverses progress of Medical financing in India.

6 mins read

Given the critical role that health systems are expected to play in the delivery of healthcare to the public, health system financing is an essential policy problem in both developed and developing nations. The health-financing system is meant to enhance health outcomes, provide financial security, and address healthcare customers in a fair, efficient, and long-term way.

However, we have recently seen how the advent of COVID-19 pandemic is impacting people’s lives. There is fear and panic about the pandemic’s long-term consequences, one of them is the deterioration of the health-care financing system. The pandemic’s effects are expected to be long-lasting, impacting many facets of human life and having far-reaching repercussions.

What is the root of the healthcare financial crisis that followed the pandemic? Because of the lack of awareness of a sickness like the new Coronavirus, insurance policies providers, hospitals, and doctors were unaware of the disease, let alone cover it in their health insurance plans. To further comprehend this, consider the following:

Lack of knowledge about pandemic a barricade for medical financing

Health finance has been a key impediment to providing basic healthcare in India, owing to the country’s low economic performance and extremely high population growth. The absence of reliable research information, as well as a lack of knowledge about the virus and its effects, are among the primary hurdles that health systems faced. This made it more difficult to develop and implement effective steps to better cope with the pandemic, slow its spread, and lower the death rate.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had an influence on India’s healthcare funding system. In order to respond to the pandemic’s impact, the government had to commit resources to support preparedness and response, as well as establish the upper cap, which is  specific to industries such as the pharmaceutical sector, which supplies COVID-19 drugs and equipment, as well as support for MSMEs and job creation.

Steps taken to prevent further dip in medical financing

To cover the massive costs of the COVID-19 crisis, the government cut expenditures on goods and services, transfers, and capital investment. This circumstance has ramifications which led to the overall fall of the gross domestic product of the nation for the financial year 2020-2021.

Donors reduce spend in health care

Donor support has also been affected by the pandemic. In the early aftermath of the pandemic, donors and development partners mobilised money to fund worldwide attempts to create a coronavirus vaccine. Donors are likely to reduce their contributions to healthcare finance in India and other poor nations in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic owing to their economic disruption.

Panic among patients contributing to monetary inflow in healthcare system

Because of the pandemic’s outbreak, many individuals have been avoiding medical help in hospitals for fear of acquiring the virus. Many of these institutions, particularly public hospitals, are employed as isolation centres, which deters non-coronavirus patients from attending. 

As they are afraid of contracting the virus if they attend a health institution, many people choose to self-medicate at home for certain ailments. The number of National Health Insurance Scheme subscribers has suffered because of this circumstance.

Similarly, out-of-pocket payments, which are part of the private hospitals’ internally generated funds (IGF), have been impacted. People who choose self-medication or home care avoid paying for treatments such as elective surgeries and reproductive health services, among others, that they would have gotten if they went to a hospital. Non-attendance at hospitals is damaging hospitals’ IGF, causing out-of-pocket payments to decline as a source of health finance in India.

Moreover, the pandemic has impacted work, affecting individual and household earnings. This has an impact on people’s capacity to pay for healthcare, lowering the IGF of healthcare institutions. The capacity of these hospitals to get consumables for running their facilities has undoubtedly been harmed with their IGF falls.

To improve this, subscribers should be urged to keep renewing their healthcare policy plans to preserve the NHIS’s long-term viability. In this sense, broad education and awareness are critical. Private health insurance participation should also be promoted, particularly among the middle and higher classes who can afford it.

Useful links :

Patients Opt For Elective Surgeries As COVID Cases Decline.

Telemedicine – A Linchpin in The Dawn of Virtual Healthcare

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