|As the new school year starts, parents are worried about how much they're having to spend, especially on health insurance. — Illustrative Photo thanhnien.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — As the new school year starts, parents are worried about how much they're having to spend, especially on health insurance.
"Since the new school year began, we have spent nearly VND5 million (US$220) in fees, not including school fees," said Nguyen Thi Nham, who has two children studying in first and fifth grade in two schools in Ha Noi's Thanh Xuan district.
As a civil servant it's hard for her to afford all these fees, she said.
Nguyen Thi Hue, who works at Posico Company in the Tan Thuan export processing zone in HCM City's district 7, said she was shocked by the cost of health insurance.
"I paid VND580,000 ($25.5) for my two children last year but now I have to pay more than VND1 million ($44)," she said.
She said she was struggling with all kinds of fees at the beginning of the new school year due to her low income.
Prof. Van Nhu Cuong, chairman of Luong The Vinh school's board of directors said the health insurance premium of over VND400,000 ($17.7) per student is too high.
He suggested that there should be adjustments to fit each student.
"For example, if a student has physical insurance bought by his family, they shouldn't be obliged to buy health insurance," he said.
Bui Hong Quang, deputy director of the Department of Planning and Finance, said the 2015-16 school year is the first time the amended health insurance law has applied in education, with a higher premium than previous years.
Due to the health insurance law, students now have to pay health insurance in accordance with the financial year instead of the school year, so they have to buy insurance for 15 months, he said.
Previously, health insurance for students took effect at the beginning of the school year and expired in a year.
According to Quang, health insurance cost 3.3 per cent of minimum wage in 2014 but had now increased to 4.5 per cent.
He said the price was set under the insurance law so the education sector had no control over it.
Tong Thi Song Huong, director of the Health Insurance Department, said the increase in fee is aimed at improving treatment.
Once they get health insurance cards, students get an 80 per cent discount on treatment.
The government pay 30 per cent of the health insurance fee for students and they have to pay the remainder.
Students from households which are classified as poor, who participate in health insurance schemes, will be granted insurance free of charge, she said.
Students from near-poor households will enjoy up to 70 per cent subsidised from the government.
Huong admitted buying health insurance this year will be more difficult for families due to the rate increase and having to pay in accordance with the financial year.
To help families she said students can buy health insurance for 3 months, 6 months or for 15 months. — VNS