The Vietnamese Government looks to achieve 75 percent health insurance coverage in 2015 and 80 percent by 2020, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said on March 4.

He made the remark at a session to review the implementation of the Law on Health Insurance and the blueprint for universal health insurance.

The Ministry of Health reported that in 2014, health insurance covered 71.6 percent of the population, realising the target of over 70 percent by 2015 set in the blueprint, but falling short of the 75 percent mandated by the National Assembly.

Health insurance is currently only covering a small number of households just above the poverty line and employees of private companies, it said.

Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien attributed the low coverage to high premiums, low medical services quality, and bottlenecks in insurance payments.

She said it will be difficult to reach the other 30 percent of the population without cooperation and initiative from the entire political system.

The official asked provincial and municipal People’s Committees to include health insurance coverage in their lists of socio-economic development goals and provide financial support to families just above the poverty line.

Speaking at the session, PM Nguyen Tan Dung spoke highly of the efforts exerted to reach 71.6 percent health insurance coverage and to advance medical service quality.

He stressed the importance of continued communication to raise the sense of responsibility among State agencies and public awareness of health insurance. Meanwhile, ministries and sectors need to overhaul existing policies to create the best possible conditions for achieving universal insurance coverage.

The leader told the health sector to enhance the quality of grassroots medical services and apply information technology in insurance management and distribution to minimise losses for the State budget.-VNA