|The Government aims to have 80 per cent of population insured by 2020.—Photo dantri.vn
HA NOI (VNS)— About 80 per cent of the Vietnamese population is expected to be insured by 2020, according to a newly-ratified Government plan.
It was estimated that nearly 68 per cent of the national population owned health insurance cards by December 2012, said Le Van Kham, deputy head of the Health Ministry's Insurance Department.
Under the plan to provide universal health coverage, insurance cards will be distributed to farmers and rural workers – who often do not purchase health insurance – as well as other needy groups.
The Government will subsidise 100 per cent of the premium for households living in underprivileged areas in mountainous provinces, where poorer households in rural areas earn an average income of VND401,000 – 520,000 (US$19-$25) per month.
Students will receive a 50 per cent discount.
According to Kham, the goal for 2020 was reduced to 80 per cent from the previous goal of 100 per cent included in the Law on Health Insurance approved by the National Assembly in 2008.
The old target was difficult to reach for many reasons, the official explained. For one thing, farmers, fishermen, students and businessmen displayed little interest in purchasing health insurance.
"Substandard quality examinations and treatment for those holding health insurance cards can be blamed for the low rate of voluntary buyers," Kham said.
Pham Thi Quynh Anh, a third-year student at the National Economics University, is a case in point.
"I hardly use my health insurance card since I got it," she said.
Rather than going to public hospitals when she gets sick, she said that she generally goes to private clinics because they are "quicker and more convenient".
Poor public awareness of the benefits of health insurance is another reason for the lack of interest, according to Kham.
The ministry plans to submit the Government to provide more support to farmers and fishermen to buy insurance, he said.
Organisations will also be called on to provide funding.— VNS