For any political regime, social security in general, social insurance and health insurance policies in particular are also considered an important foundation for a country’s economic development and socio-political stability.
Voluntary social insurance is a policy that was issued later than other policies of the social insurance sector. With the efforts of the whole socio-political system, it is expected that in 2020, Vietnam will record an impressive number in the development of voluntary social insurance.
Completing the multi-tier policy
Implementing the voluntary social insurance policy is a step to perfect the multi-tier social insurance policy in the spirit of Resolution No. 28-NQ/TW. The people who are subjects to this policy are those who do not work with monthly salary, so the voluntary social insurance policy will help them to get pension after they are out of working age.
In addition, employees who work in state agencies and companies that are subject to compulsory social insurance, but for objective reasons they have to quit their job in the middle but are not eligible for retirement can also pay voluntary social insurance to enjoy pension.
According to Mr. Bui Sy Loi, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly's Social Affairs Committee, all three layers of the social insurance policy of Resolution 28 are very important. The point that is the most humanitarian significance, with widely social coverage and demonstrating the Party's care for all people is the first layer, the social pension policy.
“The social insurance policy is basically meant to change people's perceptions. Not only implementing the compulsory social insurance policy, we also expand the voluntary social insurance policy to quickly achieve the universal coverage of social insurance,” Loi said.
According to the Report on 2 years of implementation of Resolution No. 28-NQ/TW (May 23, 2018) of the 12th Central Executive Committee on the development of participants in voluntary social insurance of the Vietnam Social Security, by December 31, 2019, the number of people participating in social insurance reached 15,774 million people, accounting for 32.3% of the workforce in the working age. Of which the number of people participating in compulsory social insurance reached 15.2 million people and the number of people participating in voluntary social insurance numbered nearly 574,000 people.
In particular, since the issuance of Resolution No. 28-NQ/TW, the number of voluntary social insurance participants has increased rapidly. Specifically, in 2018, the country had more than 277,000 participants, an increase of more than 52,900 people, corresponding to an increase of 23.6% compared to 2017. In 2019, this number increased to nearly 574,000 people, an increase of 296,700 people, corresponding to an increase of 107.1% compared to 2018, making up 1.17% of the labor force in working age. In particular, the number of new voluntary social insurance participants in 2019 was equal to the total number of people participating in voluntary social insurance over the total number of the 11 previous years.
According to the Vietnam Social Security, the above results are due to the relatively appropriate amendment and supplement of the voluntary social insurance policy.
Specifically, the voluntary social insurance currently sets no limit to the ceiling age to participants. The subject to this policy are Vietnamese citizen from 15 years of age or older. The payment methods are diversified and flexible (payment for every 12 months; payment once for many years later (up to 5 years); one-time payment for missing years); Extending the time of payment, from monthly basis to quarterly, every four months, every six months and in the first 07 months for the payment every 12 months.
In addition, the provision of income as a basis for voluntary social insurance payment is also more appropriate, with the lowest equal to the standard of poor households in rural areas (currently VND700,000 per month). Previously, (before 2016), the lowest base income level had to be equal to the common minimum salary or the base salary. From January 1, 2018, voluntary social insurance participants are also supported by the State based on the percentage (%) of the monthly social insurance premium according to the poverty standard of rural areas. This is an important motivation for people to actively participate in voluntary social insurance.
Local governments throughout the country have paid great attention to directing and issuing related documents; establishing steering committees at the provincial and district levels; assigning officers to monitor, urge and assign targets of social insurance participants to district and commune levels. Administrative procedures have been always reviewed, streamlined, and shortened (since May 2020, related procedures have been shortened to only three and only one procedure for the collection of voluntary social insurance). Application of information technology in professional activities has been promoted, electronic transactions at levels 3 and 4 have been applied to ensure the most convenience for participants.
The monthly nationwide online seminars have been maintained, through which, problems are solved promptly, experiences and lessons are shared; units and individuals with achievements are commended and rewarded, which has helped encourage officials and employees to actively emulate and fulfill assigned tasks.
The agent system, the network of collaborators has been expanded. So far, there are more than 12,400 agents, over 37,300 points collecting social insurance and health insurance, plus over 52,200 agent employees. The agency system has reached every commune, ward and town in the country while the collaborator network has covered villages, residential groups, creating favorable conditions for people to access and join the social security policy.
Propaganda has been strengthened and reformed in both content and form. In particular, the Vietnam Post Corporation coordinated with the Vietnam Social Security to organize over 14,000 conferences with people and workers in the informal sector to propagate and mobilize their participation in voluntary social insurance policy in 2019, thereby attracting over 276,000 people participating in voluntary social insurance in the year.
3 groups of solutions to expand subjects to voluntary social insurance
Despite many positive achievements, there are still a number of shortcomings and limitations in the implementation of voluntary social insurance policies.
Specifically, in terms of policies and laws, the current level of state support for voluntary social insurance participants is low (poor households are supported 30% of the premium, equivalent to 46,200 VND/month; near-poor households are supported 25%, equivalent to 38,500 VND/month; the rest of the beneficiaries receive 10%, equivalent to 15,400 VND/month). The time to pay social insurance to enjoy the pension is still long (20 years or more, 55 years old for women, 60 years old for men).
The attention and participation of some governments at all levels, sectors and social insurance agencies has not been drastic. Most of the provinces and cities have not yet arranged the local budget to support additional contributions beyond the State's prescribed level for voluntary social insurance participants. Income of many people, workers in the informal sector is low and volatile. Besides, many people have not changed their perception of accumulation for long-term life, so they do not pay attention to voluntary social insurance.
To expand the range of beneficiaries of social insurance, the Vietnam Social Security proposed 3 groups of solutions. Specifically, Vietnam Social Security will strengthen coordination with ministries, branches, media agencies, and local authorities at all levels to promote communication and propaganda with diversified forms, particularly focusing on propaganda and direct advocacy to people to raise awareness about the necessity, position, role, meaning, rights and obligations when participating in social insurance so that they can actively and self-participate in social insurance.
The Vietnam Social Security continues to propose and recommend the completion of the legal system on social insurance to institutionalize tasks and solutions according to the Resolution, Directive of the Party, the Government and the Prime Minister in order to achieve the goals in accordance with the tasks and solutions of Resolution No. 28-NQ/TW of the 7th Conference of the Central Executive Committee, Resolution No. 125/NQ-CP of the Government.
The agency particularly proposed to amend regulations on conditions and time of paying voluntary social insurance premium to enjoy pensions, combined with adjusting calculation method of pension entitlement; Increasing the State's support for voluntary social insurance participants, especially farmers, informal workers who are not in poor or near-poor households to increase the level of to attract and encourage an increase in the number of people participating in voluntary social insurance; Setting the age conditions to enjoy pensions between men and women appropriately to encourage male farmers and workers to participate in voluntary social insurance.
Continue to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the development of social insurance beneficiaries of the social insurance agency through strengthening coordination in directing the implementation of social insurance policies; promote the application of information technology in, professional management and support, and administrative procedure reform; strengthen training, professional fostering and management; and regularly inspect the performance of the tasks with respect to the premium collecting agencies and employees in order to promptly rectify the mistakes and harassment, which limit the performance of the target development task.