Local Economy

Last updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Heading for Universal Health Insurance, Ensuring Social Security

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2018

Defining health insurance and social insurance as two main pillars of the social security system that ensures lawful rights and benefits for people, the Social Security of Quang Nam has striven to deploy many important solutions to increase health insurance coverage up to 95 per cent by 2020 and to all people soon after that.

More benefits
After five years of implementing Resolution 21-NQ/TW of the Politburo on “strengthening the Party leadership on social security and health insurance in the 2012-2020 period” and after three years enforcing the Law on Health Insurance (effective from January 1, 2015), the number of health-insured people in Quang Nam province has increased rapidly. By the end of 2017, the province had 1,392,301 health-insured people and recorded an overall health insurance coverage of 92.82 per cent of the population, 3.32 per cent higher than the target set by the government for 2017 (89.5 per cent), and 8,805 people more than in 2016 (up 0.64 per cent). Rights and benefits of health-insured people are always guaranteed. However, as of April 30, 2018, the province saw a decrease in the number of people covered by health insurance, totalling 1,366,170, because the near-poor no longer received a 30 per cent financial support from the provincial budget.

According to the new Law on Social Insurance, benefits of those with health insurance are expanded more than earlier. Specifically, the law adds benefits in the treatment of stigma, myopia and refractive errors of eyes for children under six years of age; supplements regulations on payment of health insurance funds for suicide, self-inflicted injuries, traffic accidents, labour accidents and occupational diseases in conformity with the Labour Code; and amends regulations on payment of transportation expenses to all of eligible expenses for medical examinations and treatments.

Privileges of the insured are placed on top. The law amends, and supplements and abolishes the regulation on five per cent co-payment for the poor, socially protected people and ethnic minorities living in socially and economically difficult areas; removes the regulation on 20 per cent co-payment for certain family members of people with officially recognised meritorious services to the revolution; reduces the co-payment rate from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for certain family members of people with officially recognised meritorious services to the revolution and for the near-poor. The Health Insurance Fund shall pay 100 per cent of medical examination and treatment expenses for people living in areas with socially and economically extremely poor regions and people living in island communes and districts; settles full payment for medical expenses for patients who have health insurance coverage for five consecutive years or more and have co-payment of medical expenses in the year equalling more than six months of basic salary.

Mr Pham Van Lai, Director of Social Security of Quang Nam, said, delivering universal health insurance is a very significant social security policy to achieve justice in people's health care. At the same time, it demonstrates humanism in the sharing of healthy people with sick people, the rich with the poor, and people of working age with children and the elderly. Therefore, to accelerate the roadmap of expanding the health insurance coverage to all people, the Social Security of Quang Nam has promoted communications with many forms (e.g. Quang Nam Newspapers, provincial and district television and radio broadcasting stations, leaflets, visual panels, etc.); delivered useful contents for each target group. Especially, the unit has cooperated with other local bodies to organise meetings and dialogues with people.

Tackling hardships
Programme 23-CTr/TU dated March 5, 2013 of the Quang Nam Provincial Party Committee on implementation of Resolution 21-NQ/TW by the Politburo on enhancing Party leadership of social insurance and health insurance in the 2012 - 2020 period set the targets that 95 per cent of people will be medically insured by 2020, the quality of medical examinations and treatments covered by health insurance will be constantly improved, and rights and interests of the health-insured will be lawfully ensured. “Carrying out this roadmap, the Social Security of Quang Nam has to face a number of challenges, but we are determined to achieve this because it is a social security target,” he said.

The task is currently difficult to achieve because uninsured people are mainly the near-poor, students and households. The near-poor are no longer entitled to 30 per cent financial support by the provincial budget (70 per cent is already subsidised by the central budget). As a result, some people will not be able to afford to buy insurance or pay premiums in time. Besides, some people make light of insurance because they think they are still healthy enough to live without insurance. Student health insurance plays a major role in developing school healthcare for younger generations, but health insurance policies are delivered to only 92.94 per cent (250,329 out of 269,334 students).

To overcome these shortcomings and increase the health insurance coverage to all people, the Social Security of Quang Nam proposed the Provincial People’s Committee to renew the 30 per cent financial support for near-poor households to enable them to enjoy health insurance as before. In addition to achieving the target of health insurance for all students as specified by the Law on Health Insurance, the Government of Vietnam and the Quang Nam Provincial People’s Committee need to have specific sanctions for schools failing to deliver health insurance to students. Last but not least, the people need to raise their awareness of rights and interests when they hold health insurance, Mr Lai said.

Cong Luan

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