Has the Rajiv Aarogyasri Community Health Insurance Scheme of Andhra Pradesh Addressed the Educational Divide in Accessing Health Care?

Mala Rao et al

PLOS One

Equity of access to healthcare remains a major challenge with families continuing to face financial and non-financial barriers to services. Lack of education has been shown to be a key risk factor for ‘catastrophic’ health expenditure (CHE), in many countries including India. Consequently, ways to address the education divide need to be explored. We aimed to assess whether the innovative state-funded Rajiv Aarogyasri Community Health Insurance Scheme of Andhra Pradesh state launched in 2007, has achieved equity of access to hospital inpatient care among households with varying levels of education.

Methods

We used the National Sample Survey Organization 2004 survey as our baseline and the same survey design to collect post-intervention data from 8623 households in the state in 2012. Two outcomes, hospitalisation and CHE for inpatient care, were estimated using education as a measure of socio-economic status and transforming levels of education into ridit scores. We derived relative indices of inequality by regressing the outcome measures on education, transformed as a ridit score, using logistic regression models with appropriate weights and accounting for the complex survey design.

Findings

Between 2004 and 2012, there was a 39% reduction in the likelihood of the most educated person being hospitalised compared to the least educated, with reductions observed in all households as well as those that had used the Aarogyasri. For CHE the inequality disappeared in 2012 in both groups. Sub-group analyses by economic status, social groups and rural-urban residence showed a decrease in relative indices of inequality in most groups. Nevertheless, inequalities in hospitalization and CHE persisted across most groups.

Conclusion

During the time of the Aarogyasri scheme implementation inequalities in access to hospital care were substantially reduced but not eliminated across the education divide. Universal access to education and schemes such as Aarogyasri have the synergistic potential to achieve equity of access to healthcare.

 

 

journal.pone.0145707.PDF

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