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Government postpones medical fee increase

Update: May, 02/2013 - 09:29
Health insurance users pay medical service fees at the National Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital in Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc

HA NOI (VNS)— Authorities in the two major cities of Ha Noi and HCM City will delay an increase in the prices of a number of healthcare services that was scheduled for September.

Deputy Head of the Health Ministry's Department of Planning and Finance Nguyen Nam Lien said the price rise would still occur later in the year, but was being delayed to ease financial strain on families at the start of the new academic year.

The two cities would apply the price rise plan gradually so that it is in line with people' payment capacity and the balance of the health insurance fund, Lien said on the Government Website.

The price increase would be applied for 447 out of more than 3,000 healthcare services on offer, so it would not have a great impact on people, particularly health insurance card holders who accounted for nearly 68 per cent of the total population, Lien said.

Children under six years old and families of those who rendered services for the nation's revolutionary cause were provided free health insurance cards by the State and would have their medical services fees totally covered by the health insurance fund.

The State also provides free health insurance cards for retired people, the poor and ethnic minority people who would only have to pay for five per cent of the medical services fees while the remaining would be paid by the health insurance fund.

Other health insurance card holders would have to pay only 20 per cent of the medical services fees, Lien added.

To mitigate the impact of the fee adjustment, the Prime Minister decided to raise the Government's financial support for low-income earners buying health insurance from 50 to 70 per cent of their annual premium.

The Prime Minister also called on localities to rally funds to pay for the remaining 30 per cent of the health insurance premium for people living near the poverty line.

The ministry's planning and finance department reported that from June last year, 61 out of 63 localities have started to increase fees for nearly 450 medical services, with prices rising by two to six times, following the health ministry's roadmap. The fee rise was approved by the Prime Minister. —VNS


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