Institute for Social and Economic Change

Working Paper: 321

Socio-economic Disparities in Health-Seeking Behaviour,
Health Expenditure and Sources of Finance in Orissa:
Evidence from NSSO 2004-05

Amit Kumar Sahoo
S Madheswaran


Over the years, various healthcare plans and programmes have been formulated and implemented by the Government of Orissa but the State’s health indicators have not improved substantially. Moreover, in recent years, the health-seeking behaviour of the people has been affected due to the increasing cost of healthcare. Healthcare is not free any more due to the introduction of user fees, increasing privatisation of healthcare delivery and technological innovations in the diagnosis and treatment of ailments. As a result, out-of-pocket expenditure has increased enormously. It has affected the socially and economically dis-advantaged groups the most. They have to borrow money, liquidate savings, sell valuable assets and even curtail expenditure on the education of their children in order to pay for expensive medical treatment. Hence, for the purpose of this paper we investigated broadly three main aspects, namely the healthcare-seeking behaviour, healthcare burden and, most importantly, the sources of finance for healthcare expenditure across socio-economic groups to provide policy suggestions on healthcare financing, with special focus on health insurance.

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