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Catastrophic health spending among older adults in India - P4H Network

Catastrophic health spending among older adults in India

Deprivation among the aged population and its implication on households is a global concern due to the unprecedented rise in the geriatric population. Old age is a period of many vulnerabilities, falling health, retirement from the workforce, no/reduced income, increasing health expenditure, and social isolation. Old age population is rising in India, and they are reported to have a high rate of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and poor self-rated health that challenges morbidity, mortality, health care utilization, and health care spending. 

This study compares catastrophic health spending (CHS) between multiple deprived and non-deprived older adult households in India and identifies the determinants for CHS among households in India. The set of covariates were deprivation of the households, place of residence, household size, sex of head of the household, religion, caste, any member of the household suffering from chronic ailment, any member hospitalized in last 365 days. 

First, the study established slightly higher than one-fourth (28%) of households in India have older adults, of which, 43% were multiple deprived and one in five (19%) households with aged members were incurring CHS in 2017-18. The incidence of CHS was higher among the multiple deprived households (22%) than that multiple non-deprived households (16%) in India.  

As a composite of all dimensions, the households with multiple deprived aged populations were expected to live in poor health and experience CHS and impoverishment. This reaffirms the vulnerability of the aged in one hand and its implication towards the consequential CHS, which might discourage health care utilization. 

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