The Government has targeted over 90 per cent of nationwide population covered with health insurance by 2020. — Photo hanoimoi.vn
HÀ NỘI — The Government has targeted over 90 per cent of nationwide population covered with health insurance by 2020. Despite preferential policies to encourage citizens to buy health insurance, the number of health insurance card holders, especially household health insurance, remains low due to red tape.
Without health insurance, Hoàng Thị Yến, renting a house in HCM City’s District 2, had to pay over VNĐ60 million (US$2,700) for leg surgery, Tin Tức (News) reported.
“To buy household health insurance, I have to bring the family register book of my landlord and all health insurance cards of the family members to the ward authority. Then I have to register for temporary residence. However, my landlord’s family has yet to buy health insurance cards so I cannot buy it,” she said.
Prolonged waiting time is another challenge for health insurance card holders.
Trần Thị Bốn from Thủ Đức District in HCM City, said “I have to wait for the whole day for each health check-up.”
Getting bored of waiting, she decided to buy a health check-up service without health insurance.
To increase public access to health insurance and to meet the above target, Hà Văn Thúy, the deputy head of the Health Insurance Department under the Health Ministry, said that the ministry has issued a set of hospital quality criteria which place patients at the centre of hospital services.
Health insurance covers almost 80 percent of Việt Nam’s population now.
According to Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, director of the HCM City Health Department, the city’s healthcare sector has worked with the city’s health insurance to cut down unnecessary procedures so as to improve healthcare examination and treatment but still ensure quality.
The waiting time of patients to see a doctor has been cut from 120-480 minutes to 30-120 minutes.
According to Tin Tức newspaper, hospitals in HCM City have bought state-of-the-art technology to better serve patients. Eighteen hospitals in the city have newly installed health check-up booking via a hotline. “We are looking forward to smart health insurance cards (electronic) to replace current paper cards,” Bỉnh said.
Chợ Rẫy Hospital, Gia Định Nhân Dân Hospital and the hospital of Thủ Đức District in HCM City have installed automatic queue ticket dispenser machines and have staff to instruct patients at health check-up rooms.
According to Doctor Nguyễn Minh Quân, director of Thủ Đức District hospital, to reduce waiting time, prescriptions are typed out on computers. Also, the doctors’ consultation time for patients is longer.
In addition, the Việt Nam health insurance sector made amendments to the health insurance regulations to provide card holders with additional benefits, Thúy said.
Accordingly, low-income card holders will enjoy 95 to 100 per cent of health insurance. Near-poor people will have coverage of 80 to 95 per cent.
Since January 1 this year, new regulations state that patients who register for health insurance cards at a ward-level medical clinic can enjoy health insurance benefits at any district clinic or hospital in the country.
Under household health insurance, the first card holder of the household will have to pay 100 per cent of the insurance cost. The second one has to pay 70 per cent. The third, fourth and fifth card holders have to pay 60, 50 and 40 per cent, respectively.
Household health insurance will cover 80 per cent of hospital fees for health examination or hospital beds. In case of serious diseases and high treatment cost, the health insurance will cover 50 to 75 per cent of expenses. — VNS