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Public health insurance proving its value

Update: March, 18/2021 - 10:39

 

Health insurance cardholders complete payment procedures at a hospital. Thanks to health insurance, medical cost burden is reduced for many patients.— VNA/VNS Photo

ĐẮK LẮK — The 57-year-old H’Bit Niê of Buôn Ma Thuột City was taken into hospital after “extreme” pain in her back and legs.

Doctors at Thiện Hạnh General Hospital said that she had suffered multilevel disc herniation and had to undergo surgery to replace one of her discs with an artificial disc. The surgery normally costs about VNĐ60 million (US$2,600).

H’Bit Niê said that without a health insurance card, she and her family would have had to borrow from her friends and relatives to pay the bill.

It was very difficult for farming households like hers to manage such an expensive medical service, she said.

“A few years ago, I was told about the benefits of buying health insurance,” H’Bit Niê said, adding that her whole family had bought insurance since then.

“Thanks to health insurance, I felt reassured to receive treatment at the hospital. My children don’t have to worry about medical costs for me,” she said.

Her daughter H’Duyên Niê said health insurance paid for her mother’s surgery and that doctors and nurses at the hospital wholeheartedly cared for patients.

H’Bit Niê was discharged from the hospital 10 days after the surgery.

Another patient at Thiện Hạnh General Hospital named Nguyễn Long said that when he was at the hospital for his coronary artery blockage, he saw the value and the need for a health insurance card.

“My family is struggling to afford my medical costs,” he said.

“Once leaving the hospital, I will buy health insurance in case I get an illness in future,” Long said.

At Buôn Ma Thuột City General Hospital, 62-year-old Nguyễn Thị Lấn said her family bought a household health insurance package three years ago.

Now, she is treated for high blood pressure and degenerative spine but doesn't worry much about medical costs any more, Lấn said.

Trần Thị Loan, of Buôn Đôn District in the same Central Highland Province of Đắk Lắk, said her husband was under treatment for kidney and stomach problems.

“We spent more than VNĐ100 million ($4,300) last year when my husband went to the hospital in HCM City without a health insurance card,” Loan said.

“Previously, we did not think one day we would get a serious illness and have to go to the hospital, so we used to think that health insurance was not necessary,” Loan said.

“Diseases can happen to anyone at any time,” Loan said, adding that she bought health insurance for her whole family early this year.

“During this treatment, my family only paid VNĐ20 million as the health insurance fund paid part of my husband’s treatment costs,” Loan said.

Director of Thiện Hạnh General Hospital Phạm Trường Tấn said that since 2000, public health insurance cardholders could use health services at the hospital with part of their medical costs covered by public health insurance.

The insurance payments were the same as those at public hospitals.

Until last year, nearly 80,000 health insurance cardholders registered to receive primary healthcare at Thiện Hạnh Hospital, Tấn said.

People with or without health insurance cards were treated the same at Thiện Hạnh Hospital, Tấn emphasised.

According to Đắk Lắk Province’s Health Department, the province’s Social Security Agency has been working with local hospitals to serve health insurance cardholders.

Insured patients were timely examined and treated as well as transferred to higher-levelled hospitals if needed. —  VNS

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In 2020, about 88 million people, accounting for 90.85 per cent of Việt Nam’s population, joined public health insurance.

According to the Vietnam Social Security (VSS), health insurance cardholders made about 160 million visits to healthcare facilities last year. Of them, dozens of thousands of patients had the health insurance fund cover their costs ranging from VNĐ100 million ($4,300) to VNĐ1 billion ($43,300) each.

A patient with an innate blood disease in the southern province of Bến Tre had medical costs of VNĐ5.68 billion ($246,400) paid by the health insurance fund during two treatment periods in Chợ Rẫy Hospital.

Now, a person could join public health insurance with an annual insurance fee of VNĐ804,600. When buying a household health insurance package, the fees for other members from the second one would be reduced.

According to VSS, up to 91.58 per cent of the national population is expected to join health insurance this year.

The sector also aims to raise the rates of labourers participating in social insurance from 32.7 per cent to 35.2 per cent, and unemployment insurance from 27 per cent to 28.5 per cent. — VNS

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