More HCM City locals insured in 2016 hinh anh 1Patients with health insurane wait for health check at Thu Duc Hospital in HCM City.(Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - Increasing hospital fees and benefits from health insurance helped increase the number of people buying health insurance in HCM City last year by nearly 662,000 compared to 2015, according to the city’s Social Insurance Agency.

At a meeting reviewing the agency’s activities last year held last week, Cao Van Sang, the agency’s head, said that the city last year had around 6.4 million of people buy health insurance.

The number is the city’s highest compared to last several years, Sang said, and added that health insurance covered 78 percent of the city’s total population.

This year, the city aims to increase the coverage to 80.7 percent, he said.

Although hospital fees hiked by 30 percent last March under the Ministry of Health’s roadmap to the end of 2017, the city’s health insurance fund still ensures the balance and its abundance is nearly 700 billion VND (30.8 million USD).

The fund in 2015 was 1.1 trillion VND (48 million USD), but the city only kept 22 percent according to the government’s regulation. The rest was used to buy and provide free health insurance cards for people near the poverty threshold last year.

Health insurance helps reduce the burden of paying higher hospital fees which could reach 500 millionVND-600 million VND (22,026 USD-26,431 USD).

A 52-year-old woman of Dong Nai Province who suffers from breast cancer said that she enjoys benefits from health insurance for her treatment.

Sang said that the cost for every outpatient and inpatient to examine and treat each time is the highest in the country, with the average 1.5 times higher than in other provinces and cities.

People who buy household-based health insurance receive the discount. The second member pays 70 percent, 60 percent for a third one, 50 percent for a fourth one and 40 percent for the fifth one.

The benefits helped increase the number of people buying under this method last year by more than 300,000 compared to 2015.

More than 2 million people bought compulsory social insurance last year, nearly 7,000 people voluntary social insurance, and more than 2 million people unemployment insurance.

According to Sang, the number of people with voluntary social insurance reduced because the insurance did not attract people. They pay the total amount to buy social insurance while people who buy compulsory social insurance pay a part of the charge. [Their employers have to pay the larger part for them.]

People who buy voluntary social insurance are at least 15 years old.-VNA