HA NOI (VNS)— Health insurance will be compulsory if amended legislation that aims to ensure universal health insurance coverage is approved.
The draft Law on Health Insurance would include greater allocation of financial resources for healthcare to fund check-ups and treatment for the community, said Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen at a workshop held on Wednesday to discuss the legal document.
She stressed that Vietnamese people still had a psychology of only taking out health insurance when they became ill.
Deputy Director General of the Viet Nam Social Insurance Nguyen Minh Thao said current regulations on participating in health insurance remained unclear, making it unattractive to many groups of people to buy health insurance.
Therefore, it was necessary to make health insurance mandatory to ensure universal health coverage, he said.
Nearly 68 per cent of the national population owned health insurance cards by December 2012, according to the ministry.
Under a recently-ratified Government plan, about 80 per cent of the Vietnamese population will be insured by 2020.
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.
Regarding the issue of health insurance cards, Deputy Minister Xuyen said overlap still occurred in the provision of the cards by different agencies and organisations, leading to the release of some unnecessary cards.
She pointed to the need to amend the health insurance law, as it was promulgated in 2008 and its implementation revealed many shortcomings.
The rate of health insurance coverage was low, regulations on health insurance not strictly followed, health check-up and treatment procedures complicated and the quality of health check-up and treatment low, she said.
Many participants at the workshop proposed increasing financial support for near-poor households and informal labourers. — VNS