PM calls for increase to targets for health insurance coverage.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc targeted 90 per cent of Vietnamese having health insurance by 2020 at a conference on health insurance held on June 3.
He emphasized the importance of improving health insurance for citizens, especially for the poor, who face a range of difficulties in social welfare.
After 25 years of implementing health insurance for the people, coverage has reached 75 per cent, he said. “Is the target of health insurance coverage being 78 per cent a high target?” he asked the conference, before answering it was not.
He then suggested the target be increased. “We should be discussing what a suitable target is by 2020, whether it’s 85 per cent or 90 per cent,” he said. “I think it should be 91 per cent.”
To meet the target the Prime Minister asked local authorities and ministries to prepare specific plans and tasks. He also asked about what the quality of public health services should be, when a target is set and investment set aside.
He was concerned about whether there is any discrimination among people using health insurance services and non-health insurance services.
As soon as the Prime Minister flagged the issue, Deputy Minister of Finance and General Director of Vietnam Social Insurance, Ms. Nguyen Thi Minh, decided to adjust the target to 90 per cent by 2020.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said that, in the future, her ministry will continue to cooperate with related ministries to adjust fees for those without health insurance, to ensure equality.
From the end of 2016 to the beginning of 2017, the Ministry of Health (MoH) targets adjusting fees at hospitals in eight to ten provinces. In improving the service quality of medical staff, MoH has punished over 7,000 staff for having the wrong attitude towards patients.
Ms. Minh said that, before June 30, national health insurance inspections at 14,000 medical units will be synchronized. Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam stressed that all hospitals must connect their data to national health insurance inspection networks. Hospitals that don’t connect their data to the network will not receive payments from the government, he warned.
The Deputy Prime Minister also called for non-discrimination between health insurance services and non-health insurance services. Hospital management mechanisms must be reformed, he added, and by 2021 there is to be no discrimination between the two forms of services.
He also affirmed that the State and local authorities have to support people to take out health insurance. Government support in 2016 will total VND450.1 billion ($20.08 million) and he proposed the Prime Minister ensure that this amount of money will be spent.