Expenditure on medical care scales up to Rs 48,321 annually for a Mumbai household, typically of four members, says a citizen’s survey conducted by the NGO Praja Foundation this year.
Of the 22,850 houses surveyed, 71 per cent families admitted to not having a medical insurance, thus transferring the burden of sudden medical expenditure on their savings.
“The BMC’s estimated health budget this year is Rs 3,359.78 crore. Despite that, the government has not been able to make healthcare free or at least accessible for people,” said Milind Mhaske, project director at Praja Foundation.
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The BMC this year raised its budget estimate from Rs 2,912.97 in 2014-2015 period by Rs 446 crore this year to spend more on the National Urban Health Mission, launched in 2014, to cater to urban health care.
The survey found out that 21 per cent families, equaling close to 5,000, spent more than 11 per cent of their income on hospital or medical expenses in 2015. According to Nitai Mehta, managing trustee at Praja, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) collected data suggesting 52 per cent hospitalised patients fall below poverty line because of the medical costs they have to bear. “The lowest income group is worst affected, with the annual expenditure on medical costs being 9.3 percent of the annual income in 2015,” he said.
The Praja report indicated that at least Rs 13,675 crores are spent on medical costs annually in Mumbai. While BMC runs 26 civic hospitals, and state government has four hospitals in Mumbai, only 32 per cent of city population avail public facilities as opposed to 52 per cent who only opt for private health care.
Dr Rajkumar Choudhary, Secretary, Association of Hospitals that has 52 charitable hospitals attached to it, said, “The quality of health care in private is better than public. This is the reason why probably people prefer going to private hospitals.”