Health insurance will be compulsory for all, according to a draft on amendment to the Law on Health Insurance.

The health insurance system will also be run as a non-profit operation by the State.

"Health insurance fees for health care services would be considered as a special tax for health care," said the Viet Nam Insurance Agency's Health Insurance deputy director Nguyen Van Tien at a workshop on July 16.

The draft amendment singled out 25 current forms of health insurance into three main groups, including insurance for workers; groups covered by the society insurance funds and the State budget; and those partially supported by the State Budget.

The agency explained that simplification of types of insurance would help better manage the health insurance network and expand it to cover the whole population.

The draft also highlighted health insurance for households with an aim to expand health insurance holders, especially among ethnic minority communities and among the poor.

"People of the Mong ethnic group have had less access to health care services than other ethnic minority groups despite most of these people having had health insurance cards. The most important thing is how the law could help increase access to health care services for them," stressed Tien.

A representative of the Lao Cai Health Department said that ethnic minority people in the province have been disadvantaged when compared to people in delta and urban areas due to the poor quality of medical services and health human resources in the northern mountainous provinces.

The changes to the law aim to expand health insurance cover to 70 percent of the population by 2015 and over 80 percent by 2020, said Tien.

The agency's statistics put the number of people with health insurance at more than 59.3 million, equivalent to 67 percent of the country's population.-VNA