Health Ministry to increase fees by two- to seven-fold to reduce government subsidies for healthcare.
Fees on nearly 1,900 medical services and products at public hospitals around Vietnam will increase sharply in March, by two- to seven-fold, according to a recent circular from the Ministry of Health.
The cost of a health check-up at first-class hospitals will, for example, double to VND40,000 ($1.8), while bed charges will go up from the current VND80,000 ($3.6) per day to VND215,000 ($9.6).
The new fee regime includes check-ups, medicines, and treatments and covers other charges that were earlier subsidized by the government, such as power and water, maintenance of equipment and waste treatment facilities, training and research, and so on, according to Mr. Nguyen Nam Lien, Head of the Ministry’s Department of Planning and Finance. From July fees will go up further to cover the basic salaries of medical staff. The adjustments are aimed at ending subsidies at hospitals and gradually improving the quality of health services, Mr. Lien added.
Professor Luong Ngoc Khue, Head of the Ministry’s Medical Examination and Treatment Department, said the change would not have a major influence on people because health insurance will cover 80-100 per cent.
Many are concerned, however, that the new fee schedule would be a burden on patients without health insurance, who account for 25 per cent of the population, such as farmers, freelance workers, and the poor, so in the initial stages it will only be applied to patients with health insurance. Those without insurance will be subject to the new fee schedule at a later date.