return icon

Health insurance - a lifebuoy for patients

The public health insurance fund paid more than half a million US dollars for treatment of just a single patient over three years.

Health insurance covers 87.62 percent of Vietnam population
Bright future ahead for private health care sector



The 35-year-old haemophilia patient from the southern province of Vinh Long racked up medical costs which were covered by public health insurance fund at a record rate – nearly VND13 billion (US$560,000).

According to Viet Nam Social Security, the country’s health insurance fund paid more than VND 4.5 billion for the patient’s treatment in HCM City’s Cho Ray Hospital in 2017, another VND7 billion in 2018 and nearly VND1.4 billion in the first five months of this year.

The payment marked a record amount that public health insurance fund has ever covered for an individual’s medical treatment since the early 1990s when Vietnam’s first health insurance policies were passed.

As the patient is from a poor family he is eligible to get free health insurance, meaning that the State’s budget was spent to buy health insurance for him. Besides those from poor families, people in 19 other groups are also eligible for the incentive including children under 6 six years old, elderly over 80 years old, people from ethnic groups living in disadvantaged areas, certificated unemployed people and people who contributed to national revolutions.

Meanwhile, the Government pays 70 per cent of health insurance fees to help people from near-poor households to get insurance cards.

The yearly public health insurance fee in Vietnam is VND750,600 ($32).

Comparing the two numbers – VND750,600 and VND13 billion, many people would be surprised and understand more about the meaning of health insurance participation, especially those in disadvantaged situations.

Doctor Nguyen Thi Mai, head of Haemophilia Centre under National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion said patients with haemophilia suffered the blood disorder disease for the whole of their lives and must undergo medical treatment for long periods.

She said their medical cost was about VND 400,000-500,000 million on average yearly and patients at serious stages of the disease required treatment that could cost billions of Vietnamese dong each year.

“The sum is not small at all even to non-poor people,” Mai said.

A 30-year-old male patient Ho Huy Bao from the central province of Ha Tinh said he was found to have haemophilia ten years ago and he usually had uncontrollable bleeding.

“I have undergone surgery to remove my left leg because of last month’s bleeding,” Bao said, adding that after the surgery, the wound kept bleeding, which made him move to Bach Mai Hospital for curettage the wound and then, back to the Haemophilia Centre.

Bao said that his medical treatment this time could cost more than VND 1billion.

“The treatment costs too much for my family to afford as we mainly do farming,” Bao said.

“Without health insurance, I could not continue the treatment,” he said, adding that all of his medical treatment cost at the hospital was covered by health insurance.

Next to Bao is a 12-year-old boy from Chuong My District in Hanoi’s suburban area. The boy looks healthier and more energised than other patients in the room thanks to regular treatment, his mother Do Thi Thom said.

“Whenever he bleeds, he was taken to the hospital,” Thơm said, adding that every hospital stay costs VND20 million.

“We are relieved to see my son’s treatment cost covered by health insurance. He has to live with the disease for the rest of his life,” she said.

Head of the Haemophilia Centre – doctor Mai said health insurance was a lifeline for patients with life-threatening diseases like haemophilia.

“Without the health insurance cards, many of them would not be able to afford treatment costs and they might die,” Mai said.

“If public health insurance can expand its coverage to preventive and early treatment, it could help reduce burdens caused by the diseases, at least financial burden for both patients and the insurance fund,” Mai said.

According to Viet Nam Social Security, Vietnam has 83.4 million health insurance cardholders, accounting for 88.1 per cent of its population.

By the end of this year’s first quarter, health insurance cardholders registered more than 41.7 million doctor’s visit, an increase of 1.47 million visits compared to those of the same period last year.

Health insurance fund paid nearly VND227 trillion, about VND794 billion more than that of the same period last year.

Vietnam expects to have 95 per cent of its population join health insurance by 2025.




Nguyen Tat Thao, vice head of Health Insurance Policy Implementation Committee under Viet Nam Social Security (VSS) said the poor, the near-poor and people in disadvantaged conditions were encouraged to get health insurance.

Last year, the Government issued a decree to add more people eligible to join health insurance as well as the spending of State’s budget and other legal funds to buy health insurance.

For examples, people from poor and near-poor households in most disadvantaged areas in the country will be given free health insurance cards.

Those from poor or near-poor households in other areas will be given 70 per cent of health insurance fees. Some localities in the country offer higher rates of assistance.

Thao said many patients and their families fell into poverty as they got diseases that required long and expensive treatment.

“Joining health insurance helped many patients avoid the poverty trap,” he said, adding that patients who received huge amounts of insurance payments are usually those suffering from blood diseases, particularly haemophilia.

However, covering high-cost treatment for certain groups of patients did not affect the benefits of other health insurance cardholders.

“This reflects the basic principle of health insurance policy – the many pay for the few,” Thao said.

Thao added that VSS was making efforts in improving assessment and health insurance payment as well as calling on healthcare institutions and health insurance cardholders to use the fund effectively.

“Ensuring the payment ability of the fund is to ensure benefits of healthcare institutions and insurance cardholders,” he said.



Doha Cup 2023: Vietnam's U23 football team return home with "empty hand"

Vietnam’s U23 team left Doha Cup 2023 with an "empty hand" after a close loss to their Kyrgyz rivals on March 29 (Vietnam time).


Government issues details on aid for ethnic minority housing, land reclamation

GDP growth of 3.32% in Q1 nears lowest level in 13 years

Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.32% in the first quarter of the year, higher only than the growth rate of 3.21% recorded in the first quarter of 2020 in the 2011 to 2023 period, according to the General Statistics Office.

Four Japanese banks to provide US$300 million for Vietnamese renewable energy

Four Japanese banks are set to co-finance a total of US$300 million to provide credit lines to power producers using renewable energy in the nation as part of efforts to help the growing country in its decarbonising process.

15 short stories by Vietnamese writer published in RoK

A collection of 15 short stories written by local author Nguyen Huy Thiep were introduced to Korean readers by Wisdom Publishing House in March.

Hanoi’s ancient pagoda in the red-silk cotton tree season

In March, red-silk cotton trees bloom, showing off their beauty at the thousand-year-old Thay Pagoda in Quoc Oai district in Hanoi.

VN Government calls for broad-based measures to help realty sector

The Vietnamese Government has recently urged ministries to take measures to help the realty sector get back on track and sustain its healthy growth.

EC drops health certificates requirement for Vietnamese noodles

The European Commission (EC) has recommended removing Vietnamese rice noodle and vermicelli brands from conditions that require health certificates and 20 per cent random testing at the port of entry.

Ministry of Industry and Trade proposes draft on cross-border trade

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) is seeking public comments on a legal draft amending Decree No14 on cross-border commercial activities.

Leaders of aviation firms to be disciplined if employees committed wrongdoings

The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) has just released directive 1480, on enhancing smuggling and commercial fraud prevention among aviation employees.

Golden tourism route links six destinations of Vietnam, China

A golden tourism route connecting six destinations of Vietnam and China was launched in Hanoi on March 28, expected to help the two countries enhance cross-border tourism links.

Vietnamese Foreign Minister holds online talks with Chinese counterpart

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son held online talks with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang on March 28, during which they agreed to intensify all-level exchanges.

Vietnam International Travel Mart 2023 to spotlight cultural tourism

The Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM) themed “Cultural tourism” will take place on April 13-16 at the Cultural Friendship Palace in Hanoi, featuring 450 pavilions from over 50 localities nationwide, and 15 countries.

Vietnam, ILO sign decent work country programme for 2022 - 2026

The Decent Work Country Programme Vietnam 2022 - 2026 was signed between representatives of the Vietnamese Government, workers, and employers and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Hanoi on March 28.

Vietnam vows to control cross ownership in banks

The tightening of control over cross ownership aims to stop crises at banks.