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The Socioeconomic and Institutional Determinants of Participation in India's Health Insurance Scheme for the Poor

Arindam Nandi, Ashvin Ashok, Ramanan Laxminarayan
PloS One 2013, 8 (6): e66296
23805211
The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), which was introduced in 2008 in India, is a social health insurance scheme that aims to improve healthcare access and provide financial risk protection to the poor. In this study, we analyse the determinants of participation and enrolment in the scheme at the level of districts. We used official data on RSBY enrolment, socioeconomic data from the District Level Household Survey 2007-2008, and additional state-level information on fiscal health, political affiliation, and quality of governance. Results from multivariate probit and OLS analyses suggest that political and institutional factors are among the strongest determinants explaining the variation in participation and enrolment in RSBY. In particular, districts in state governments that are politically affiliated with the opposition or neutral parties at the centre are more likely to participate in RSBY, and have higher levels of enrolment. Districts in states with a lower quality of governance, a pre-existing state-level health insurance scheme, or with a lower level of fiscal deficit as compared to GDP, are significantly less likely to participate, or have lower enrolment rates. Among socioeconomic factors, we find some evidence of weak or imprecise targeting. Districts with a higher share of socioeconomically backward castes are less likely to participate, and their enrolment rates are also lower. Finally, districts with more non-poor households may be more likely to participate, although with lower enrolment rates.

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