Health insurance cardholders waiting in line to get medical checkups and treatment at Tr​ung Vuong Hospital in HCM City. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Roughly 17 million or more than 18 percent of Vietnam’s population had not entered the health insurance programme by the end of 2016. Most are labourers, poor people and students, the Vietnam Social Insurance (VNSI) has said.

A report from the agency showed that more than 81 percent people were covered by health insurance in 2016, equivalent to 75 million people and 4.3 percent more than 2015.

Of the total, only 74,000 people from business households of agriculture, forestry, fishery and salt production have insurance, only 4.5 percent of the total population of this group.

The main reason for this, the agency said, was enterprises who evaded paying insurance premiums for workers. Meanwhile, supervision of social and health insurance regulations remained poor.

Co-operation between sectors in localities in implementing health insurance was also ineffective, leading to difficulties in providing more people with insurance.

Nguyen Thi Minh, VNSI General Director, said that the Law on Healthcare Insurance and its benefit to insurance buyers has encouraged people to join the programme.

However, Minh said, to make the Ministry of Health’s 90 percent target for health coverage by 2020 feasible, it was necessary to alter mechanisms.

For example, some poor people living on islands and in coastal areas have not renewed their insurance cards after being given them two years ago, according to the official.

Minh said the VNSI has opened more branches to expand health insurance nationwide. It has simplified administrative procedures for granting insurance cards to help people sign up for insurance.

Currently, 62 out of 63 cities and provinces have achieved national targets for insurance coverage. About 18 localities managed to have 90 percent of people covered by health insurance.  
The lowest coverage rate of 68 percent is Binh Thuan province.-VNA