HA NOI (VNS) — A regulation that went into effect this year has made it more difficult for many people to buy health insurance.
The law says that if a member of a family does not register for health insurance, other members named on the same resident registration book cannot buy it.
Pham Thi Thuy of An Duong in Hai Phong told Nong thon Ngay nay (Countryside Today) newspaper that she went to buy health insurance for her mother last month, since it was set to expire on March 31. Thuy also wanted to buy health insurance for several others in her family – besides her and a sister, whose employers were purchasing it for them.
The healthcare insurer told her that in that case, she and her sister needed to get verification from their employers that theirs was already covered.
Thinking this was too complicated and wanting to get the health insurance card early for her mother, Thuy said she decided to buy it for her entire family.
"This meant my sister and I had to pay double for our insurance," Thuy said.
Similarly, Trinh Thi Binh, living in Ngo Quyen in Hai Phong, has a healthcare insurance card that expires on March 31.
Binh wanted to buy a new card, but she was told she needed to buy it for her son, as well, because he was registered in the same resident book. However, her son lived on his own hundreds of kilometers away from her. It wouldn't be easy to contact him to ask whether he had health insurance yet.
The Ministry of Health has taken note of the problems like those faced by Thuy and Binh, according to the newspaper. At a meeting held on March 3 to discuss issues with the new healthcare regulation, the ministry officially requested Viet Nam Social Insurance to "loosen the reins" in enforcing the entire family insurance rule, hoping to encourage people to buy insurance.
The ministry suggested that the rule be adjusted so family members could buy their insurance individually.
The ministry also sent a report to the Government, in which it suggested coming up with ways to deal with cases where family members registered in the resident registration book are temporarily absent from home, so as to make it easier for other members to buy it.
Vu Tien Dung, Deputy Director of An Duong District Insurance in Hai Phong, told Nong thon Ngay nay that the rate of buying health insurance cards as of this March was notably lower than the same period last year.
"We have explained to customers that if any family members are insured by their employer, all they need to do is have that member get evidence from their workplace that they have been insured," Dung said.
Pending feedback on the ministry's request to revise the rule, Dung said he was expecting concerned authorities to remove the woes preventing people from getting their own insurance. — VNS