Out-of-Pocket Expenditure on Health Care: Investigating the Indian Informal Economy
This paper analyses the poverty scenario in India, with reference to the out of pocket medical expenses, using data from two professions of the informal sector, namely, farm labour and domestic workers. 1340 domestic workers and 347 farm labour responded to a face to face survey conducted from 2016-2018 to capture data on social, economic, health and work variables. Ratios and regression models built to understand the interactions between socio-economics and out of pocket health expenses reveal three significant results. First, current physical illnesses are not significantly linked to medical expenses, however, economic status is. For example, ownership of small farm land and own house had significant links with higher expenditure. Second, age and household membership interact with out of pocket medical expenses as an inverted U. Thirdly, work related sicknesses figured significantly in the models indicating the hidden costs associated with the nature of work. These results are discussed from the Social Ecological Theory perspective and policy implications ae drawn.
Index Terms - Informal sector; Out-of-pocket expenses; Public health: Socio-economic dynamics