Health Systems

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 242–259 | Cite as

Awareness and utilization of Rashtriya Swasthaya Bima Yojana and its implications for access to health care by the poor in slum areas of Delhi

  • Shikha GuptaEmail author
Original Article


Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), a national flagship health insurance scheme of India, was launched in 2008 with an aim to improve access to cashless inpatient care for the families below poverty line. Delhi being the national capital of India was one of the first states where this scheme was implemented. The objectives of this study were to find out the awareness of the scheme among the enrolled families, utilization of its services, and the extent to which RSBY provided cost-free access to inpatient care to its enrolled beneficiaries. A mixed method study was conducted in ten slum areas of East and North East Delhi. Data were collected through the household survey with 120 families having RSBY cards (service recipients) and qualitative interviews with 30 professionals responsible for managing various aspects of the RSBY program. Quantitative data were analysed using statistical package of social sciences (SPSS) whereas thematic analysis was done for qualitative data. The findings suggest that RSBY benefitted only 20% of the families among the total sample. It appeared that families who were relatively more aware about the range of benefits and operational mechanisms of the scheme were able to utilize its benefits as compared to others who were not. However, the families who utilized or tried to utilize the RSBY benefits were not satisfied with the scheme and faced many problems while accessing hospital care through RSBY. They faced refusals for the treatment by RSBY empaneled hospitals, demands for extra money, and poor quality treatment provided to them. These situations forced few families to approach another public or private hospitals in case of illness and incur significant out-of-pocket expenditure on emergency health care despite having RSBY insurance coverage. The data obtained through the interviews illuminated the challenges associated with the implementation of RSBY from service provider’s perspective. The study recommends that if RSBY scheme aspires to cover the entire Indian poor population under its umbrella of risk protection, the government should adopt rigorous administrative mechanisms with robust monitoring and evaluation systems at different levels to ensure quality and timely healthcare is provided to the beneficiaries.


RSBY insurance awareness utilization healthcare financing 


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Copyright information

© The OR Society 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Health Services and Policy ResearchQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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