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01.12.2019 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

International Journal for Equity in Health 1/2019

Benefit incidence analysis in public health facilities in India: utilization and benefits at the national and state levels

International Journal for Equity in Health > Ausgabe 1/2019
Diana Bowser, Bryan Patenaude, Manjiri Bhawalkar, Denizhan Duran, Peter Berman
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12939-019-0921-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The original version of this article was revised: The authors notified us of an error in the reported number of outpatient visits within the Measuring health service utilization section. The correct number is 26 instead of 262 which was originally reported.
A correction to this article is available online at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12939-019-0945-y.



Benefit Incidence Analysis (BIA) is used to understand the distribution of health care utilization and spending in comparison to income distribution. The results can illustrate how effectively governments allocate limited resources towards meeting the needs of the poor. In analyzing the distribution of public spending on inpatient, outpatient, and deliveries, this paper represents the most recent BIA completed in India.


In order to conduct the BIA statistical analysis for this project, 2014 utilization data from the most recently completed Indian National Sample Survey (NSS) was used. Unit costs were estimated for primary care, hospital inpatient, hospital outpatient, and deliveries. Concentration curves and concentration indices were estimated both at the national and state levels. Analyses were reported for overall utilization, as well as for the gross and net benefits for inpatient, outpatient, and deliveries.


According to the results, utilization of government inpatient and delivery services is pro-poor. When gross and net benefits are included in the analysis, services become more equal and less pro-poor. Gross benefits, which are measured with state-level unit costs, are virtually equal for all services. Although there are some pro-poor gross benefits trends for national outpatient services, the results also show that the equality of national gross benefits trends hides a significant disparity across Indian States. While a number of Indian States have outpatient gross benefits that are pro-poor, few show pro-poor benefits for inpatient and delivery services. Net benefits, which considers both unit costs for each respective service, and out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures, trend similarly to gross benefits. In addition, those who use public facilities spend considerable OOP to supplement government services.


This BIA reveals that government spending on public health care has not resulted in significantly pro-poor services. While some progress has been made relative to deliveries and outpatient services, inpatient stays are not pro-poor. In addition, national results mask significant disparities across Indian states.
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