Japan shares experience on health insurance to Vietnam

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Ministry of Health, and Vietnam Social Security held a workshop Health insurance policy towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and adapting with population aging in Hanoi on March 12.

The event was as part of the organizers' technical cooperation project Development and strengthening the management of provider payment methods and basic health service package reimbursed by Health Insurance Fund in Vietnam.

In their reports at the seminar, Prof. Kenji Shimazaki and Prof. Taichi Ono from the Japanese National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) introduced experiences of the country's health insurance system on rolling out UHC, and its medical care and welfare services to the elderly in Japan.

Additionally, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank (WB) presented the health financing strategy and the healthcare payment methods � two important factors in a health insurance system.

According to the WHO, UHC means that all people and communities can use health services they need, with a sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services is not at the expense of users. However, in Vietnam, patients have to pay 40 percent more of their total health spending, which is an economic burden to every family.

As a result, the Ministry of Health has carried out a number of programs to expand the health insurance coverage to 90 percent of the population by 2020 and reduce payments by patients down to less than 40 percent.

Besides, due to Vietnam's fast aging population, it is necessary to formulate and implement healthcare cost and social welfare policies for the elderly, while still maintaining the balance of the Health Insurance Fund.

At the seminar, JICA pledged to further share experiences on health insurance to help Vietnam attain its UHC targets and cope with an aging population.

Source: People's Army Newspaper