How is lack of health insurance affecting the poorest in India?

health insurance

No doubt, health insurance has become a necessity, but still, a lot of Indians do not understand this and keep playing with their health. According to the recent survey conducted by ‘Largest National Survey’ on consumption, only one-fifth of the Indians are insured under health insurance. Rest is still unaware of its importance. There are multiple reasons behind the lack of health insurance which affect the poorest.

health insurance

 An insight into such reasons is stated below:-

Low-Income Groups- To invest in any kind of health insurance, the low-income group is forced to pull out money from their savings or borrow from someone else. As many of them can’t afford, they choose to remain uninsured and receive poor quality health care services. As per the survey, one-fifth of India’s population usually spends more than 15% of their income on healthcare expenses. The survey confirms that in recent years, poverty has grown by 5% and more than 40 million people are below the poverty line. They are still not insured and don’t have enough funds to get the required coverage.

The extreme poor groups-Because of the lack of health insurance, roughly 79% of people from rural areas pay for the required healthcare services from their small savings. Still, the extremely needy groups are not able to get this. Hence, it leaves the majority of Indians uninsured. If we check further, you will realise that average medical expenses for hospitalisation in a private hospital are seven times of a government hospital. With this figure, it is clear that extremely poor people are still not getting the required assistance in the hour of need.

Paying regularly for their healthcare needs from their pocket increases their poverty level. Since it becomes hard for them to afford quality healthcare service, they delay seeking the treatment which results in major diseases. Many lose their lives in the bargain. Growing healthcare costs keep people poor and below the poverty line. To deal with the same, the government has designed multiple health insurance policies for the poor section of the society. Such policies are available for free or at a nominal cost.

 Government health insurance program

 Before Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) which is also known as Prime Minister’s Health Protection Scheme comes into the picture, only 13% of people from the rural section of the society were covered under the central government insurance scheme. Since the cover was not sufficient, the government of India launched PMJAY in September 2019. After the launch of PMJAY, the rest of the 45% of the population is now covered under health insurance. It is a big jump towards Universal Health Coverage. Just insurance alone is not enough; all needy sections are not aware of the scheme. Not all can get the required cover and not all have access to quality healthcare services.

 In India, health insurance is weak, it is still at the embryonic stage. Those who can and want to invest in insurance is still quite low and on the other hand, the insurance premiums are rising daily.

Furthermore, as Indians especially those in rural India], have limited access to quality healthcare services, they are less likely to invest in health insurance.

To assist the underprivileged section of the society with full medical care, the government is running many awareness programs. Even insurance companies are providing health insurance plans at really affordable prices.

 To conclude….

 Every person needs to get insured under the adequate health insurance plan. It will help them in dealing with unwanted medical emergencies. It allows the person to avail quality healthcare services easily without spending any money from their pocket. For a secure and healthy future, it is vital to insure yourself and family under adequate health insurance.

Views expressed in this article are a personal opinion of Naval Goel (CEO & Founder of


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