Healthcare Seeking Behavior among Self-help Group Households in Rural Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India
In recent years, supported by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a number of demand-driven community-based health insurance (CBHI) schemes have been functioning in rural India. These CBHI schemes may design their benefit packages according to local priorities. In this paper we examine healthcare seeking behavior among self-help group households, with a view to understanding the implications for benefit packages offered by such schemes. This study is based on data from rural locations in two of India’s poorest states.1 We find that the majority of respondents do access some form of care and that there is overwhelming use of private services. Within private services, non-degree allopathic providers (NDAP) also called rural medical practitioners account for a substantial share and the main reason to access such unqualified providers is their proximity. The direct cost of care does not appear to have a bearing on choice of provider. Given the importance of proximity in determining provider choices, several solutions could be foreseen, such as mobile medical tours to villages, and/or that insurance schemes consider coverage of transportation costs and reimbursement of foregone earnings.
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