Understanding CBHI hospitalisation patterns: a comparison of insured and uninsured women in Gujarat, India

Understanding CBHI hospitalisation patterns: a comparison of insured and uninsured women in Gujarat, India

Community-based health insurance has been associated with increased hospitalisation in low-income settings, but with limited analysis of the illnesses for which claims are submitted. A review of claims submitted to VimoSEWA, an inpatient insurance scheme in Gujarat, India, found that fever, diarrhoea and hysterectomy, the latter at a mean age of 37 years, were the leading reasons for claims by adult women. We compared the morbidity, outpatient treatment-seeking and hospitalisation patterns of VimoSEWA-insured women with uninsured women.

Despite similar reported morbidity patterns and initial treatment-seeking behaviour, VimoSEWA members were more likely to be hospitalised. The data did not provide strong evidence that inpatient hospitalisation replaced outpatient treatment for common illnesses or that insurance was the primary inducement for hysterectomy in the population. Rather, it appears that VimoSEWA members behaved differently in deciding if, and where, to be hospitalised for any condition. Further research is required to explore this decision-making process and roles, if any, played by adverse selection and moral hazard. Lastly, these hospitalisation patterns raise concerns regarding population health needs and access to quality preventive and outpatient services.

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