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VietNamNews

Compulsory children's health insurance yet to prove itself

Update: October, 02/2015 - 09:20
Illustrative image. — Photo dphanoi.org.vn
Last week, Viet Nam News asked its readers about the importance of health insurance for children in their countries.

Here are some of their comments:

Edward Jones, English, Ha Noi

I think it has more to do with how useful the parents think the insurance is than the amount. If they believe that their children will be better off if they gave teacher some gifts, they will do it even if it cost more than VND500,000. It's not the amount that matters here.

That brings us to the question of how useful insurance is to those parents, probably not if they had to complain about it. There were several reasons behind it. Perhaps they were not well informed about the benefits of having insurance or it could be that the insurance has yet to impress them with the quality of medical services.

It's also got something to do with it being a compulsory payment as well. While the benefits of insurance are still not yet clear to some parents, making it compulsory tends to make it appear even worse. It's like something you have to buy but you are not sure if you want it or if it is any good. Not a convincing sale, is it?

I think in order to convince parents that their children would be better off with insurance, the Government must exert more effort to communicate its benefits while improving service quality. Maybe the fact that it was categorised as compulsory made them forget that at the end of the day, it's still a business transaction. Parents may be pushed to pay for it now. However, once they realise that they have nothing to gain from it they will be looking for alternatives.

Quynh Nhu, Vietnamese, Ha Noi

I think the differences between insurance in Viet Nam & in Western countries are the benefits people can claim and the time it takes to process. In Viet Nam it takes a lot of time and effort to claim an insurance payout, especially from the Government, and sometimes the amount is so low it's not even worth it.

David Horgarth, Canadian

In Canada, basic medical treatment is covered by provincially-run, government-paid insurance, but it doesn't cover everything and what is covered can vary from one province to another. For example, some provinces include dental coverage for children, while others don't. So people, either through work (some employers include supplemental medical coverage for things like physiotherapy and dentist surgery) or by paying for additional coverage, obtain insurance. The insurance quite often also covers lost wages in case you have to take time off work due to an illness, which provides peace of mind.

Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi

Every woman, once she discovers she is pregnant, immediately stops smoking and drinking alcohol. Once the baby is born, breastfeeding becomes top priority. Health insurance and getting vaccines is next.

Nothing is more important than good health. Some of my students are so small that I can't believe they are 6 or 8 years old! I want to buy them some meat myself, just so they will get some protein and brain food.

My Vietnamese doctor friend tells me that many kids in the countryside don't get inoculated. It's such a shame. Being undernourished stunts growth and lasts a lifetime. One vaccine can be a literal lifesaver.

Canada's universal health care is far from perfect. There are long waiting times, but I don't have to worry about going bankrupt to pay for a serious illness. There's no excuse not to get health insurance for kids.

My best students have bright eyes, shiny hair, original copy books and pencils that are still big enough to sharpen. The poor attention kids have white shirts that are grey, no pencils and can't sit still.

It almost sounds like I am describing a healthy dog versus a stray. Please parents spend your time with your kids and get them books instead of letting them play with smartphones. No Lotteria, no KFC.

Health insurance? That's a "no-brainer". — VNS

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