Economic Transition Induced Changes in Expenditure on Medical Care among Elderly in Kerala, India

Thandassery R. Dilip, Centre for Enquiry Into Health and Allied Themes

Paper examines the trends and differentials in medical expenditure incurred by elderly between the period 1986-87 and 1995-96, in Kerala the state having the largest proportion of aged population as well as the strongest network of health care system in India. Expenditure on inpatient care depends on economic background of the ailing person and the income inequalities in expenditure on medical care has increased over time. The trend was different for outpatient care services, where the cost of medical care has declined to a certain extent between these two points of time. But here also the differentials in rich were found to be spending more on health care than the poor, and this gap was found to be increasing over time. It was confirmed that though the rich were spending more on medical care than the poor, the relative burden of medical care was lesser among rich than poor.

Presented in Session 161: Economic Aspects of Population Growth and Aging in Different Contexts