Experts discuss health insurance

HA NOI (VNS) — Health experts from the ASEAN region, China, South Korea and Japan shared experience in expanding health insurance coverage at a side meeting of the ASEAN Health Minister Meeting in Ha Noi yesterday.

Like many nations in the ASEAN community, Viet Nam faces challenges in expanding coverage to workers in the informal sector who are not already covered by government subsidies, a group that constitutes 30 per cent of the population.

"Expanding universal health insurance coverage to include the informal sector is a challenge for many countries, particularly ASEAN countries, where the informal sector represents a large proportion of the population," said Viet Nam health minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.

Universal health coverage was at the core of WHO's work in the Western Pacific and was the focus of the Health Financing Strategy for the Asia Pacific Region (2010–2015) endorsed by the Regional Committee in 2009, according to Tien.

"We plan to disseminate information and offer incentives for enrolment in health insurance in order to invite more participation," the health minister said.

The government's subsidy has covered all poor and ethnic minority people since 2006. However, 31 per cent of the population remains uninsured.


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