India's Historic Effort to Expand Health Insurance to Individuals Living Below the Poverty Line

Published in: JAMA Health Forum (2020)

Posted on RAND.org on April 15, 2020

by Neeraj Sood, Zachary Wagner

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One of the most ambitious health care reforms in history is rolling out in India. In 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Ayushman Bharat (also dubbed Modicare), which is expected to provide health insurance coverage to 100 million families in poverty. The stakes are enormous for a country where two-thirds of all health expenditures are out of pocket, many households experience debilitating expenditures, and the incidence of chronic illnesses that require expensive care is increasing.

Will Modicare provide financial protection and improve health? Evidence from other health insurance reforms, including a regional predecessor to Modicare in India, provide some important clues.

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