HCMC strives to increase social insurance coverage after coronavirus pandemic

Ho Chi Minh City authorities have been implementing different measures to expand social and medical insurance coverage after coronavirus pandemic.
A local administrator encourages residents to buy medical insurance (Photo: SGGP)
A local administrator encourages residents to buy medical insurance (Photo: SGGP)
Since the onset of the Covid-19 shock to the country, many workers have lost access to social and health insurance that they previously got through their employer. The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee urged district people’s committees to keep an eye on increase insurance buyers.
Over 500 members of low-income families in communes Phong Phu, Da Phuoc and Qui Duc of Binh Chanh District were given free health insurance cards by the city insurance agency and Tam Nguyen Charitable Fund. Additionally, residents were receiving free-of-charge medical examination and medicines at the card-giving ceremony.
Resident Le Van Thuong in Phong Phu Commune was moved at giving the card saying that he had dared not to go to hospitals for check-ups when he got tired before when he did not have insurance card. He can now go for regular medical check-ups without worries.
Presently, members of poverty-stricken families have been given medical insurance cards while members of near-poor households are partially subsidized with 70 percent of the required amount of a health insurance card or VND392,000 (US$16.9) for 12 months.
Despite the government’s support, severely poor households can not afford medical insurance cards; therefore, Deputy Chairwoman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee in Binh Chanh District Hua Thi Phuong Hong said that giving gratis medical insurance cards to helps destitute people feel secure when they are sick.
In addition to giving free insurance cards to impoverished households in the city, Director of the Insurance Agency Phan Van Men said the insurance sector has been implemented more solutions to encourage city dwellers to buy health insurance including compulsoryinsurance, persuade freelance workers and students to buy health insurance.
As a result, the coverage rate of health insurance in the city is 89 percent and the city is striving that the coverage rate of health insurance will be 90 percent in 2020 to finish the Politburo’s resolution and the Prime Minister’s decision No. 1167 as well as the resolutions of the HCMC Party Committee and the HCMC People’s Council
Due to impacts of Covid-19, by April, 2020, just around 2.3 million people have bought mandatory health insurance while approximately 17,600 people have purchased compulsory social insurance.
In light of the complicated developments and unpredictability of the Coronavirus pandemic, with aims to support enterprises and employees in dealing with difficulties arising from the Covid-19 outbreak, Vietnamese Prime Minister decided suspension of mandatory contributions, which includes social insurance premiums to retirement in enterprises affected by Covid-19. Some 300 enterprises had been allowed to delay social insurance payments of around VND10 billion due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic
Worse, as of October 17, businesses in the city generally owed a total of VND2.9 trillion in social insurance premiums due to the pandemic.
In regard to encouraging people to buy voluntary insurance, Deputy Director of the HCMC Insurance Agency Nguyen Quoc Thanh said that his agency in partnership with the city Post Office and district administrations will go to each household to convince residents to buy insurance.
Moreover, the agency will call for contribution of benefactors in giving free insurance cards to disadvantaged people, housewives, and farmers. According to the city Insurance Agency, nearly 30,000 people have so far bought voluntary insurance and it is expected that additional 30,000 people will participate the insurance in 2020 achieving the goal.
However, it is forecast that the city hardly reaches its goal on compulsory insurance at the end of 2020. Director Men said that the rate of people buying mandatory insurance is around 93 percent. Therefore, to expand the number of compulsory insurance buyers after the coronavirus pandemic under control, the insurance has been working with tax agencies to check enterprises which have not purchased insurance for employees.
For 300 businesses which had been allowed to delay social insurance payments by the end of December, 2020, the insurance agency will collect all as well as send warning to businesses which owed insurance over six months.
Furthermore, it will partner with inter – department inspectors to pay visits to businesses which owed insurance debts for a long time; it will even propose criminal penalties on these businesses as well as publicize the name of these companies to protect laborers’ rights.
To achieve the set goal, Deputy Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem directed people’s committees in 24 districts to encourage residents to buy insurance.

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