Household Health Insurance, the lifeboat for the poor in Lai Chau

(VOVworld) - Though Lai Chau remains a disadvantaged province, the number of people joining health insurance has recently been quite high compared to other localities nationwide. This is an important premise for Lai Chau to soon fulfill the universal health insurance target.

Household Health Insurance, the lifeboat for the poor in Lai Chau - ảnh 1
Lai Chau hopes to soon fulfill the universal health insurance target.
(Photo: VNA)

Patient Nguyen Ngoc Chien of Tan Phong ward, Lai Chau City, has been hospitalized to the provincial General Hospital in a critical condition of abdominal abscess. After 4-day surgery and treatment, Chien’s condition has much improved and can be discharged from the hospital in a few more days.

Chien said he and his family members are self-employed with low and unstable income and didn’t have health insurance cards, causing many difficulties in hospital fee payment. In anticipation of illness possibilities, four years ago, Chien’s family has bought household health insurance for 4 members.  

Chien recalled: “Since I bought health insurance about 5 years ago, it has helped us reduce medical fees whenever any of us has to go to hospital for medical treatment or take an X-ray. With health insurance, I enjoy the same medical examination with others. The service for patients using health insurance is OK and convenient. In case you suffer from serious illness, the insurance can partly reduce medical fees.”

For the patient named Nguyen Duc Nguyen, the medical insurance has become a lifebuoy for his family when he has to be hospitalized for long time. The hepatitis and heart failure force Nguyen to have been treated for almost a month. According to doctors of Lai Chau provincial General Hospital, where he is undergoing medical treatment, Nguyen’s condition will take long time which also means to cost a lot.

Nguyen says: “In the past without health insurance, when any of us got serious illness, we didn’t dare to see a doctor because it’s costly. I used to be under treatment in Hanoi but it cost me too much and I had to quit. Since I bought a health insurance card, I feel more secure. It took me only 135 USD for my 10-day treatment period this time. It has much relieved the economic burden for my family.”

Lai Chau which is a border mountain region and home to many poor ethnic people has a high rate of free medical insurance holders.

Doctor Do Van Giang, director of the provincial General Hospital, told VOV:“Recently the number of people joining medical insurance has been on the rise. The quality of medical services has much improved. The public awareness about health insurance has also been better with about 80% of patients admitted to hospital having medical insurance cards. They’ve received high priority, especially children, old and ethnic people. Local people don’t know how to register for medical check-up and treatment in hospital so we have to give them detailed instructions.”

To date, 65% of Lai Chau’s population are granted with free medical insurance or partly financed to buy the cards, bringing the total coverage in the province to 92%. Nguyen Chi Lang, deputy Director of the provincial Social Insurance, says as the poorest province in Vietnam, the sector is trying to achieve universal coverage for its population to ensure social security. 

“In the future, we’ll increase communications programs to encourage local people to join health insurance. Communications will help them know the benefits from medical insurance and that how much they can be deducted once they buy medical insurance as a group. Besides it’s necessary to understand that everybody enjoys the same interests from health insurance but the rate may be different, depending on various subjects,” elaborated Lang.

In the future, when hospital fees increase remarkably in line with the Health Ministry’s regulations, medical insurance as a group will become a positive option for many households in Lai Chau on top of free insurance for policy beneficiaries./.



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