A Study on the Impact of Demonetization on Utilisation of Private Health Care Services in a South Indian City
Background: Private sector plays a key role in India’s healthcare system. The demonetization of Rs.500 and Rs.2000 currency notes on 8th November 2016 had a great effect on the Indian economy as well as day-to day lives. Hence this study was aimed at assessing the impact of demonetization on utilization of private healthcare services in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh.
Material and Method: This was a health-facility based cross-sectional study. Ten health facilities were involved and 200 study subjects from these facilities were interviewed using a pre-designed and validated questionnaire. The respondents’ characteristics, their utilization of health services and overall experience with regard to healthcare was included in the questionnaire.
Results: When asked about the overall experience, 27pc of respondents said they were not affected, 49.5pc said they were affected but felt it tolerable, and 23pc said they were severely affected and suffered. 33.5pc of the respondents have postponed their visits to the health facility due to cash shortage. This was mostly seen in low income groups. Only 35pc of the respondents were willing to use credit/debit cards for cashless transactions.
Conclusion: Majority of respondents felt their healthcare was affected by demonetization but it was tolerable. The low income groups had highest impact. The penetration of cashless payments in private healthcare was very poor.
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