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A heart attack has any Indian spending over 30 per cent or more of his annual household income on hospitalisation. In fact, Indians and Chinese suffer maximum financial catastrophe in Asia during an acute coronary event, says a recent study published by the World Health Organisation.
The study noted that 60 per cent uninsured and 20 per cent insured Indian patients spent 30 per cent or more of their annual household income on hospitalisation. Asians, on an average, spend $3,237 (approximately Rs.1.75 lakh) in case of hospitalisation due an acute coronary event.
The study, published on January 28 in the WHO bulletin, is titled “Catastrophic Health Expenditure After Acute Coronary Events in Asia: A Prospective Study’’. Researchers from the Department of Cardiology at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital were national coordinators from India, who collected data of 1,635 respondents from 48 Indian hospitals. With 9,370 respondents enrolled between June 2011 to May 2012 in seven countries and one region of Asia, this is the largest-ever prospective observational study of household economic burden associated with the treatment of acute coronary syndrome in Asia.
Jitendra P.S. Sawhney, who co-author the paper, is the chairman of the Department of Cardiology, was the principal investigator and national-coordinator, said: “Our study also shows that the burden of out-of-pocket costs associated with the treatment for acute coronary syndromes in Asia can be substantial, reflecting the limited financial protection available for hospitalisation for these conditions. It further reflects the high rates of financial catastrophe particularly in China and India.”
He added that in India, patients with health insurance have significantly lower risks of financial catastrophe than those without insurance.