The economic burden of cancers on Indian households

Ajay Singh Mahal, Anup Karan, Victoria Fan, Michael Engelgau

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We assessed the burden of cancer on households? out-of-pocket health spending, non-medical consumption, workforce participation, and debt and asset sales using data from a nationally representative health and morbidity survey in India for 2004 of nearly 74 thousand households. Propensity scores were used to match households containing a member diagnosed with cancer (i.e. cancer-affected households) to households with similar socioeconomic and demographic characteristics (controls). Our estimates are based on data from 1,645 households chosen through matching. Cancer-affected households experienced higher levels of outpatient visits and hospital admissions and increased out-of-pocket health expenditures per member, relative to controls. Cancer-affected households spent between Indian Rupees (INR) 66 and INR 85 more per member on healthcare over a 15-day reference period, than controls and additional expenditures (per member) incurred on inpatient care by cancer-affected households annually is equivalent to 36 to 44 of annual household expenditures of matched controls. Members without cancer in cancer-affected households used less health-care and spent less on healthcare. Overall, adult workforce participation rates were lower by between 2.4 and 3.2 percentage points compared to controls; whereas workforce participation rates among adult members without cancer were higher than in control households. Cancer-affected households also had significantly higher rates of borrowing and asset sales for financing outpatient care that were 3.3 to 4.0 higher compared to control households; and even higher for inpatient care.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere71853
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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