VN strives to boost health insurance coverage

July 02, 2020 - 08:53

Phạm Lương Sơn, deputy director of Việt Nam Social Security, spoke with Nhân Dân (People) newspaper prior to national health insurance day (July 1) about plans to increase health insurance coverage to 95 per cent of the population by 2025

Phạm Lương Sơn, deputy director of Việt Nam Social Security. — Photo

Phạm Lương Sơn, deputy director of Vietnam Social Security, speaks with Nhân Dân (People) newspaper on the occasion of the national health insurance day (July 1) about plans to increase health insurance coverage to 95 per cent of the population by 2025

How do you evaluate the achievements in six years of implementing the amended Law on Health Insurance?

On June 13, 2014, the 13th National Assembly approved the amended Law on Health Insurance, which took effect on January 1, 2015.

After five years of implementation of the amended Law on Health Insurance, some 90 per cent of the country’s population has participated in health insurance coverage. Awareness of the public and medical facilities on health insurance has significantly improved. Compliance with health insurance law has shown positive signs. The benefits of those with health insurance cards have been guaranteed and more people put their trust in health insurance.

In 2014, only 2,111 medical facilities signed health insurance contracts with the social insurance agency. This number increased to 2,571 by this June. The number of private medical facilities participating in health insurance has almost doubled from 424 in 2014 to 835 in this year.

In addition, the number of medical service visits covered by health insurance has also increased sharply from 136 million in 2014 to 184.5 million in 2019. It is estimated that in the first six months of this year, the number of medical services requested by health insurance holders has reached about 76.4 million.

Currently, there are more than 18,000 technical services and 1,000 types of pharmaceutical drugs and hundreds of herbal medicines paid for by the health insurance fund. Many people have had their treatment fees paid by the health insurance fund, which costs up to billions of đồng.

The health insurance fund has really become indispensable social security in people’s lives.

Việt Nam aims to have health insurance coverage of 95 per cent of the population by 2025. What measures does the country need to focus on to make this goal a reality?

We need to improve legal policies and mechanisms on health insurance, especially policies to support those who work in agriculture, forestry, fishery and salt production to participate in family health insurance.

We also need to develop an effective health insurance fund management mechanism to prevent abuse of the fund and strengthen supervisions to strictly handle violations of the law on health insurance.

There are many difficulties Vietnam Social Security has been facing, such as the inconsistent and inadequate system of legal documents under the Law on Health Insurance.

In addition, the Ministry of Health has not yet issued a full set of professional procedures and treatment regimens, causing difficulties in inspection and settlement of expenses for medical examination and treatment with health insurance.

Late payment of health insurance premiums is another problem. It occurs in most localities, affecting the health insurance benefits of labourers. Meanwhile, sanctions for law violations in health insurance are not strict enough.

Rational use of the health insurance fund is an important part of national health care coverage. How do you evaluate the spending of the health insurance fund?

Vietnam Social Insurance always complies with the provisions of the Law on Health Insurance, the Law on State Budget and guiding documents on the financial management mechanism.

Starting from January 1, 2010, the level of health insurance premium was adjusted to account for 4.5 per cent of the salary, pensions, or unemployment benefits. As a result, revenue from health insurance has increased annually for six years from 2010 to 2015.

From 2016 to the present, medical service prices, in which costs of surgical surgeries and medical staff salaries have grown, have significantly increased the cost of medical examination and treatment. However, the health insurance fund has managed to ensure health care for the people.

To maintain the source of health insurance, Vietnam Social Security, in co-ordinating with the Ministry of Health, is proposing the Government increase the payment of health insurance premiums in accordance with the current situation of increased health spending.

The maximum payment of health insurance premium is expected to account for 6 per cent of monthly salary in the Law on Health Insurance. — VNS