Implementing Health Insurance for the Poor: The Rollout of RSBY in Karnataka

27 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2011

See all articles by Erlend Berg

Erlend Berg

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Maitreesh Ghatak

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics

R. Manjula

Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC)

D. Rajasekhar

Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC)

Sanchari Roy

University of Sussex

Date Written: March 2011

Abstract

The National Health Insurance Scheme (Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, RSBY) aims to improve poor people's access to quality health care in India. This paper looks at the implementation of the scheme in Karnataka, drawing on a large survey of eligible households and interviews with empanelled hospitals in the state. Six months after initiation, an impressive 85% of eligible households in the sample were aware of the scheme, and 68% had been enrolled. However, the scheme was hardly operational and utilisation was virtually zero. A large proportion of beneficiaries were yet to receive their cards, and many did not know how and where to obtain treatment under the scheme. Moreover, hospitals were not ready to treat RSBY patients. Surveyed hospitals complained of a lack of training and delays in the reimbursement of their expenses. Many were refusing to treat patients under the scheme until the issues were resolved, and others were asking cardholders to pay cash. As is typical for the implementation of a government scheme, many of the problems discussed can be related to a misalignment of incentives.

JEL Classification: C5, M5

Suggested Citation

Berg, Erlend and Ghatak, Maitreesh and Manjula, R. and Rajasekhar, D. and Roy, Sanchari, Implementing Health Insurance for the Poor: The Rollout of RSBY in Karnataka (March 2011). LSE STICERD Research Paper No. EOPP025, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1935771

Erlend Berg (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Maitreesh Ghatak

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
44 20 7852 3568 (Phone)
44 20 7955 6951 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/adds/ghatak/cv-lse-sept02.pdf

R. Manjula

Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) ( email )

Nagarbhavi PO
Bangalore, 560072
India

D. Rajasekhar

Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) ( email )

Nagarbhavi PO
Bangalore, 560072
India

Sanchari Roy

University of Sussex ( email )

Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9SL
United Kingdom

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