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The need for better evidence to evaluate the health & economic benefits of India's Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana

Arindam Nandi, E Phoebe Holtzman, Anup Malani, Ramanan Laxminarayan
Indian Journal of Medical Research 2015, 142 (4): 383-90
26609029
In this review the existing evidence on the impact of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) is discussed in the context of international literature available on health insurance. We describe potential pathways through which health insurance can affect health and economic outcomes, discuss evidence from other developing countries, and identify potential biases and inconsistencies in existing studies on RSBY impact. Given the relatively recent introduction of RSBY, lack of quality, verifiable data on utilization patterns, and the absence of reliable evaluation studies, there is a need to exercise caution while assessing the merits of the programme. Considering the enormous potential and cost of the programme, we emphasize the need for a rigorous impact evaluation of RSBY. It will not only help capture the real impact of the scheme, but may also be able to estimate the extent of systemic inefficiencies at the level of the consumer.

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