Public health insurance coverage in India before and after PM-JAY: Repeated cross-sectional analysis of nationally representative survey data

Sanjay K. Mohanty*, Ashish Kumar Upadhyay, Suraj Maiti, Radhe Shyam Mishra, Fabrice Kämpfen, Jürgen Maurer, Owen O'Donnell

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Introduction:

The provision of non-contributory public health insurance (NPHI) to marginalised populations is a critical step along the path to universal health coverage. We aimed to assess the extent to which Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) - potentially, the world's largest NPHI programme - has succeeded in raising health insurance coverage of the poorest two-fifths of the population of India. 

Methods:

We used nationally representative data from the National Family Health Survey on 633 699 and 601 509 households in 2015-2016 (pre-PM-JAY) and 2019-2021 (mostly, post PM-JAY), respectively. We stratified by urban/rural and estimated NPHI coverage nationally, and by state, district and socioeconomic categories. We decomposed coverage variance between states, districts, and households and measured socioeconomic inequality in coverage. For Uttar Pradesh, we tested whether coverage increased most in districts where PM-JAY had been implemented before the second survey and whether coverage increased most for targeted poorer households in these districts. 

Results:

We estimated that NPHI coverage increased by 11.7 percentage points (pp) (95% CI 11.0% to 12.4%) and 8.0 pp (95% CI 7.3% to 8.7%) in rural and urban India, respectively. In rural areas, coverage increased most for targeted households and pro-rich inequality decreased. Geographical inequalities in coverage narrowed. Coverage did not increase more in states that implemented PM-JAY. In Uttar Pradesh, the coverage increase was larger by 3.4 pp (95% CI 0.9% to 6.0%) and 4.2 pp (95% CI 1.2% to 7.1%) in rural and urban areas, respectively, in districts exposed to PM-JAY and the increase was 3.5 pp (95% CI 0.9% to 6.1%) larger for targeted households in these districts. 

Conclusion:

The introduction of PM-JAY coincided with increased public health insurance coverage and decreased inequality in coverage. But the gains cannot all be plausibly attributed to PM-JAY, and they are insufficient to reach the goal of universal coverage of the poor.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere012725
JournalBMJ Global Health
Volume8
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2023. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

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