Health insurance set to cover payments for HIV/AIDS patients from 2017 in HCM City

Update: April, 16/2016 - 16:05
People living with HIV/AIDS visit hospital for ARV treatment in HCM City.— VNA/VNS Photo Phương Vy

HCM CITY—Health insurance is scheduled to start covering payments for HIV/AIDS patients at 18 hospitals and preventive health centres as from early 2017 as international aid for free anti-retroviral medicine and treatment will stop in 2018.

At that time, HIV/AIDS patients will have to be responsible for payments for medicine and other treatment.

The health insurance for medicine and treatment for HIV-AIDS patients will be extended at all the city’s district preventive health centres, general hospitals and 23 district hospitals until July 2017.

Speaking at a conference on HIV/ AIDS treatment facilities held yesterday in HCM City, Dr Dương Minh Hải of the HIV/ AIDS Preventive Centre, said that the city now has 28,340 people with HIV/ AIDS, including 27,645 undergoing ARV treatment.

It is estimated that the number of people with HIV/AIDS will rise to 31,500 people, leading to an increase of 31,000 with ARV treatment by the end of 2016. 

Since March, the centre has provided counselling for health insurance for people with HIV/AIDS at 29 health examination and treatment clinics for outpatients in city districts and four city-level hospitals.

Only 20 per cent of people with HIV/AIDS in HCM City have insurance cards.

Bùi Đức Dư, deputy head of the Việt Nam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control, said the payments under health insurance should start now, not later.

“There is no reason for delaying this,” Dư said.

HCM City and other provinces and cities must draw up a plan for the implementation of payments, he added.

Nguyễn Hữu Hưng, deputy head of the city’s Department of Health, said that the department would petition the People’s Committee to direct the Insurance Social Agency to allow organisations that operate in fields related to HIV/AIDS to buy health insurance cards for disadvantaged people with HIV/AIDS.

The national health insurance law, which took effect earlier this year, requires that insurance must be bought for all members of a family. If a member fails to buy, the other family members listed in the same resident registration book are not allowed to buy insurance.

Health care representatives said this was one of the main barriers preventing HIV/AIDS patients from buying health insurance. --VNS