: India is currently taking steps to provide Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to its population as envisaged in the National Health Policy 2017. Providing financial protection is considered the backbone of UHC. Out-of-pocket (OOP) health care payment is the most important mechanism for health care payment in India. This study aims to investigate the effect of OOP heath care payments on catastrophic health expenditures (CHE). This research seeks to inform policy makers and health financing practitioners about the characteristics of beneficiaries and types of services to be considered for reducing likelihood of CHE in a system that intends to provide UHC. Data from the recent national survey by the National Sample Survey Organization, Social Consumption in Health 2014 is used to investigate the effect of OOP health expenditure on household welfare in India. Three aspects of catastrophic expenditure were analyzed in this paper: (i) incidence of ‘catastrophic’ health expenditure, (ii) socioeconomic inequality in catastrophic health expenditures, and (iii) factors affecting incidence of catastrophic health expenditures. The sample consisted of 65,932 households. CHE incidence was 10.94% in the whole population. The odds of incidence of CHE were higher for the poorer households. Using the logistic regression model it was observed that the odds of incidence of CHE was higher among the households with at least one child aged less than 5 years, one elderly person, one secondary educated female member, and if at least one member in the household used a private healthcare facility for treatment. Subsidizing healthcare to the households having elderly members and children is necessary to reduce CHE. Expanding health insurance coverage, increasing coverage limits, and inclusion of coverage for outpatient and preventive services are vital to protect households. Strengthening public primary health infrastructure and setting up of a regulatory organization to establish policies and conducts regular audits to ensure that private hospitals do not increase hospitalizations and the duration of stay are necessary.