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Health sector completes universal insurance plan

Update: April, 03/2012 - 10:28

HA NOI — The health sector has completed a plan to provide full health insurance coverage for the entire population by 2014, according to the Ministry of Health.

Tong Thi Song Huong, head of the ministry's Department of Health Insurance, said the project would gradually eliminate voluntary health insurance by 2014.

It would aim to increase the number of insured participants to more than 75 per cent of the population by 2015 and about 85 per cent by 2020.

By 2015, the plan seeks to insure 50 per cent of those who live on the margins of poverty with a monthly income of between VND401,000-VND650,000 ($20-32), 40 per cent of households with an average income, 75 per cent of labourers in large enterprises and all students.

The project planned to increase the number of participants by at least 25 per cent by 2020, Huong said.

The Viet Nam Social Insurance presented figures showing that health insurance services failed to cover about 34 million people, amounting to 40 per cent of the population.

Many people cited overcrowded hospitals as one reason not to buy insurance, along with long delays in treatment, proximity to other sick patients and lack of access to medical infrastructure and skilled practitioners.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said insurance would be mandatory for State employees, workers at State-owned enterprises, children under six, ethnic minority people and social welfare beneficiaries.

The most likely people not to buy insurance were those living just above the poverty line: students, farmers and private traders. The first two groups would be likely to get State support to join the insurance policy this year, she said.

Tien also said that the ministry would propose amending the health insurance law and establishing a committee to effectively implement the roadmap.

The project will be submitted to the Government in the near future. — VNS

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