Medical insurance participants shrink in four first months

It is alarming that the number of health insurance participants in the country in four first months reduced by 1.2 million compared to the same period last year; accordingly, the sector can not achieve the target of 75 percent of the country’s population to join medical insurance.

Medical insurance card holders queuing in a reception room in a hospital (PHoto: SGGP)

This was released at a press brief on May 12 in Hanoi by the Ministry of Health and Vietnam Social Security. As per the figure of the Ministry of Health, in 2014, the country has around 64.470 million people joined in medical insurance or equivalent to 72 percent of the whole country.

However, in April, 2015, the medical insurance participants in the whole country are 63.250 million or health insurance buyers shrink by 1.2 million

Vu Xuan Bang, deputy chief of the Department of Health Insurance Implementation of the Viet Nam Social Insurance Agency (VSIA), expressed his concerned saying that the number of buyers pay for their health insurance in the family health insurance category has fallen by 15 per cent.

Explaining for the reduction of health insurance participants in the four first months, Bang said that it is the amendment of the new regulation. The new law regulates that insurance buyers who pay for their health insurance must buy with their family households.

In addition, Bang added the lack of proper public awareness of new health insurance regulations and complicated administrative procedures in some localities are the main reasons for the poor show.

Many households cannot register for health insurance services for an entire family because they cannot submit the copies of the health insurance card or the temporary residence registration of their family members who are abroad on business or are living and working in other provinces or cities, according to Bang.

A leader of Vietnam Social Security admitted that the amendment which encourages people to join medical insurance in family group to get the special treatment is a barrier

Deputy Director of the Health Ministry's Department Health Insurance Le Van Kham said that the health and insurance sectors will work with relevant sectors in the future to promulgate instructions for the implementation of family health insurance services by focusing on simplifying administrative procedures relating to the registration of residence and temporary residential documents.

While checking the performance of medical insurance in 10 cities and provinces, seven inter-department inspection teams discovered difficulties in carrying out the new amendment

Residents and authorities in some provinces petitioned that the government should allow the payment can be divided into many time or six month once in order to reduce the burden for low-income families. The Vietnam Social Security planned to allow payment to be divided of local authorities  promised to collect enough health insurance payment.

The amendment encourages people to join medical insurance in family group to get the special treatment. For example, the first family member pays a premium of 6 per cent of their basic salary; but the second, third and fourth will pay less than this, declining from 70 per cent of the first member’s paid premium for the second family member to 50 per cent for the fourth, and for the fifth member, the premium is equal to only be 40 per cent of the first member’s.

Accordingly, a 5-strong family will pay around VND2 million (US$ 92) a year. however, it is still a big amount for residents in rural districts leading to a reduction in medical insurance participants.

By Minh Khang – translated by Uyen Phuong

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