Surge in people joining medical insurance in Vietnam

The Health Insurance Law, set up just three years back, has brought about a surge in the number of people wanting to join the field of medical insurance, said the Ministry of Health and the Vietnam Social Insurance Company (VSI) at a meeting in Hanoi on November 6.

health insurance card holders experience overloading in big hospitals

The ministry and the insurance company had jointly held a meeting to review the last three years since implementation of the Health Insurance Law as well as discuss adjustments to the law in the future.

According to the two organizations, as of October 2012, the country had more than 57 million insurance card holders, an increase of 8 million compared to 2010 figures.

Besides, more than 2,453 medical clinics nationwide had agreed to provide medical treatment to insurance card holders.
Tong Thi Song Huong, director of the Department of Health Hnsurance under the Ministry of Health, admitted that some problems had occurred along with achievements during the implementation of the law.

In particular, the regulation ruling that health insurance patients must pay 5-20 percent of the final cost has affected patients who are too poor, chronically ill or from the ethnic minority groups. Such disadvantaged people have been at a loss to find the means to pay their hospital fees.

Le Bach Hong, director of VSI, said the company is facing difficulties in persuading people to take up health insurance, and as a result 35 percent of the country’s population is still not covered. Moreover, health insurance card holders experience overloading in big hospitals and limits in medical services, which has been causing frustration for many.

VSI estimates say that in 2012 the company collected around VND39,607 billion (US$1.9 million) and spent approximately VND37,506 billion. By 2013, the health insurance fund may reduce greatly due to hike in medical and hospital charges.

The Ministry of Health has asked the insurance company to speed up the process of issuing or renewing health insurance cards, ensure the benefits of insurance card holders, improve the quality of medical check-ups and treatment, and use the health insurance fund much more effectively.

By K. Nguyen - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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