This article from The Lancet examines the economic impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on individuals and households in low- and middle-income countries. The authors summarize research from 66 studies describing the direct out-of-pocket costs incurred by NCDs and their impact on other economic indicators (e.g. job loss). Findings showed that uninsured individuals had between a two and seven times greater odds of experiencing catastrophic out-of-pocket costs, although several definitions for catastrophic costs were used. Furthermore, the health insurance received in low- and middle-income countries is often incomplete, highlighting the need for broader health systems strengthening and an extension of financial protections for vulnerable populations. The authors conclude that the implementation of universal health insurance plans that include compulsory pre-payment via taxation or national insurance contributions are a promising opportunity to address the financial toll of NCDs, particularly among the poor.
This article is third in a Lancet series of five papers on NCDs and economics that explores the impact of the economic environment on the incidence and severity of NCDs, and vice versa. The series analyzes strategies to reduce the burden of NCDs, and the effects on health and economic equity.
Other papers in this series:
Jan S, Laba TL, Essue BM et al. Action to Address the Household Economic Burden of Non-Communicable Diseases. The Lancet 2018. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30323-4