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Economic Sector

Last updated: Thursday, February 21, 2019

 

Health Insurance Making New Year Reunion Happier

Posted: Saturday, February 02, 2019


In the treatment room at the Radiotherapy Department, Hanoi Oncology Hospital, 47-year old Nguyen Thanh Nam from Ngu Hiep commune, Thanh Tri district, Hanoi is trying to eat every spoon of rice with the desire to regain his health and reunite with his family during the New Year holiday. His wife, Mai, is taking considerate care of him and sharing with us their family story.

As a middle-income family, Nam is a bricklayer assistant and Mai is a handywoman. Their family quickly slid into hardship when Nam was diagnosed with cirrhosis several years ago. As the disease quickly evolved, he quickly lost his health and had to quit his hard work. Worse, he gradually failed to do daily family works like taking children to school. His wife took diligent care of her husband, her mother in-law and her children. Also burdened with family affairs, she sometimes seems to fail to accept her ill fate. As a daughter, a wife, and a mother, she had energy to overcome all hardships.

When he was detected to carry the disease, she had given birth to their little daughter just one year earlier. Seeing his weakening health, she urged him to go to hospital for a check-up. As he was unable to stop working and he feared high medical costs, he refused again and again. When he could no longer stand up, he went to hospital for examination and his cirrhosis turned severe. His employer did not buy social and health insurance for him although he had worked for decades. Paid as he worked, he dared not to rest. Until he got sick, without social insurance, he had to pay treatment costs himself. His employer fired him without an explanation.

Under this circumstance, Mai applied to work as a handywoman at Hoan My Company. Since then, her meager salary became the main economic source of their family. Treating his disease made their savings quickly run out. Knowing the misery of having no insurance at hospital, she registered to buy “household” insurance. Then, in the following year, as a poor family, they were granted social insurance. “Without health insurance, I don’t know whether my husband could live up to now,” said Mai. His treatment costs millions of Vietnamese dong each month. This may be a small sum of money for many families but it is not for them. To feed her family, in addition to her full-time work, she did hourly housework for other families. She had to work many hours every day to earn money in addition to taking care of her two little daughters, her sick husband and her weak mother-in-law. “Some people are willing to pay me more for doing housework, but I don’t want to quit my job at my company because I have social insurance and health insurance. With insurance, when I am old or I am at risk, I will be protected. My husband’s case is a costly lesson,” she said.

Things changed from bad to worse. Two months ago, Nam was detected to have a liver tumor. He was transferred to Hanoi Oncology Hospital for a new treatment phase. She was busy taking care of her husband, her two young children, her mother in-law and making money to cover his treatment. Although the health insurance pays most of the cost, some items are not covered by the health insurance agency.

Every cloud has a silver lining. Doctors said the liver tumor is treatable because of early detection. Fortunately, the surgery was performed after December 1, 2018 when many new health insurance regulations took effect. Most medicines and medical supplies are paid by health insurance. With a small sum of money given by friends and relatives, her concern about the money for his recovery was eased to a certain extent.
Three days after the surgery, Nam’s health got better. According to the doctor, his body responded well to the treatment. His recovery depends on nutrition and post-surgery treatment. Certainly, he will be able to go back home to celebrate the New Year with his mother, his wife and his daughters. Their family’s joy will be greater when their big daughter had good academic performance while the little girl passed the district level English exam and prepared for the city-level exam.

“For us, like many other patients, health insurance gives us the chance to live longer, to have more Tet reunions with our family and see our children grow up, Nam and Mai said in a moving voice.

Tue Anh








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