18/09/2014 10:18 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

ASEAN+3 aims for comprehensive health insurance

Hanoi, September 17 (VNA) – The ASEAN+3 countries (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) need to accelerate the extension of their respective national health insurance policies to effectively provide coverage for all their citizens, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said.

Speaking in Hanoi on September 17 on the sidelines of the 12 th ASEAN Health Ministers’ Meeting, Minister Tien stated that the provision of health insurance for labourers in the informal sector was particularly challenging, not just for Vietnam, but for all of ASEAN+3.

Vietnam provided health insurance for 69 percent of its population in 2013, with payments from the health insurance fund steadily increasing each year, she said.

The Government continued to pay particular attention to poor and vulnerable people when it came to the implementation of its health insurance policy, she added.

In particular, people living under the poverty line and ethnic minority groups have been benefitting from health insurance coverage paid for by the State budget since 2006.

This preferential treatment was incorporated into the revised Law on Health Insurance adopted on June 13, 2014, demonstrating Vietnam’s efforts to remove all barriers for disadvantaged people to access health care services.

However, Tien said, as in other ASEAN countries, Vietnam was still working to expand its health insurance coverage to the remaining population, particularly those working in the informal sector.

During the panel discussion, participants shared their experience in implementing the policy and discussed solutions that suited each country. They called for a joint approach to speeding up the provision of health care for all residents in the ASEAN+3 region.

Additionally, during the ministerial meeting, which was held in Vietnam for the first time, delegates called for the intensification of efforts to combat newly emerging contagious diseases and reduce the spread of epidemics.

They also shared up-to-date information on the communicable diseases caused by the Ebola virus, MERS-COV and avian viruses, and drug resistance in malaria treatment.