Monday, November 26, 2012

Vietnam - Health insurance to spread a wider net

The Hanoitimes - The health and social insurance sector plans to revise the health insurance law so that more of the population are covered.

They plan to increase health insurance coverage from the present 65% of the population to 75% by 2015 and to 90% by 2020.

Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said the revision was necessary to tackle shortcomings in the law introduced three years ago.

Ministry of Health statistics show that about 35% of the population still are not covered by health insurance.

Only about 50% of workers in enterprises are covered, 18.9% of people near the poverty level – and 80% of students.

Tien said that shortcomings existed in payment policies or policies to bring medical services to these groups.

The low quality of medical services at the grass-roots level, complicated administrative procedures in transferring patients to higher levels were also given as reasons why many people did not want to get involved.

Inadequate awareness o­n health insurance and low healthcare budgets were given as reasons for a shortage of medical access for many, including farmers.

Deputy Director of the Vietnam Insurance Agency Nguyen Minh Thao said that the health insurance law should be modified to target groups of low-income earners or those working informally, such as migrant labourers.

Making health insurance more inclusive would also help hospitals provide a stable financial source for examining and treating people, said Thao.

Statistics show that the numbers of Vietnamese insured rose to 64.9 per cent at the end of last year, up 9 per cent against 2010. The ministry estimated that the number would reach more than 69.1 million people by the end of this year.

The ministry is yet to produce a detailed plan o­n the introduction of the revised law.

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