Authorities in the two major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will delay an increase in the prices of the number of healthcare services that was scheduled for September.

Deputy Head of the Health Ministry’s Department of Planning and Finance Nguyen Nam Lien said the price rise will still occur later in the year, but was being delayed to ease financial strain on families at the start of the new academic year.

The two cities will apply the price rise plan gradually so that it is in line with people’s payment capacity and the balance of the health insurance fund, Lien said on the Government Website.

The price increase will be applied for 447 out of more than 3,000 healthcare services on offer, so it will not have a great impact on people, particularly health insurance card holders who accounted for nearly 68 percent of the total population, Liens said.

Children under six years old and families of those who rendered services for the nation’s revolutionary cause were provided free health insurance cards by the State and will have their medical services fees totally covered by the health insurance fund.

The State also provides free health insurance cards for retired people, the poor and ethnic minority people who will only have to pay for five percent of the medical services fees while the remaining will be paid by the health insurance fund.

Other health insurance card holders will have to pay only 20 percent of the medical services fees, Lien added.

To mitigate the impact of the fee adjustment, the Prime Minister decided to raise the Government’s financial support for low-income earners buying health insurance from 50 to 70 percent of their annual premium.

The Prime Minister also called on localities to rally funds to pay for the remaining 30 percent of the health insurance premium for people living near the poverty line.

The ministry’s planning and finance department reported that from last June, 61 out of the 63 localities have started to increase fees for nearly 450 medical services, with prices rising by two to six times, following the health ministry’s roadmap. The fee rise was approved by the Prime Minister.-VNA