Published: 2021-04-27

State led innovations for achieving universal health coverage in a low resource setting Odisha, India: opportunities and challenges

Sarit K. Rout, Upasona Ghosh, Amrita Parhi, Sudhashree Chandrashekhar, Shridhar M. Kadam


Background: Odisha, a developing state of India, has introduced an innovative scheme known as Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY), which aims at providing free health care to all the people. This paper examines the scope, key features, challenges and potentiality of BSKY to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) in Odisha.

Methods: We reviewed policy documents and conducted qualitative interviews with key state government officials and other stakeholders to understand implement processes and constraints.

Results: The scheme intends to provide free health care to all people in public health care institutions and additionally, 71 lakh poor households can avail health care services from the empanelled private hospitals with financial coverage up to 5 lakhs per family and women members up to 10 lakhs annually. This is implemented in assurance mode by merging state-run schemes- Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), Biju Krushak Kalyan Yojana (BKKY) and Odisha State treatment fund (OSTF). The implementing agency is introducing several measures to control unnecessary health care utilisation and cost. Gate keeping mechanism and reserved packages by public hospital are major initiatives in this direction. Further, efforts to settle claims on time and IT related challenges are teething problems of the scheme. The findings further suggest that public expenditure on health stands at 1.3% of GSDP and inadequate human resources and health infrastructure are affecting service delivery.

Conclusions: Achieving UHC with such a low public spending on health and different service delivery constraints looks ambitious. Odisha may learn from other countries to implement UHC phase wise.


Biju swasthya kalyan yojana, Publicly funded health insurance, Financial protection, Universal health coverage

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