To be able to buy health insurance in Vietnam, people in some localities have been required to submit certificates of divorce, family record books, and temporary residence addresses.
Others have to wait for a month and visit the insurance agent several times to obtain the insurance, while residents in other places can easily get it.
Although the Ministry of Health has a policy to expand the coverage of health insurance to the entire population, around 25 million people are uninsured due to administrative procedures.
Those 25 million people, who are mostly freelance or unskilled laborers, will face more difficulties when Vietnam hikes hospital fees by December this year.
It should be noted that the central government has worked out measures to facilitate administrative procedures to expand the coverage of health insurance.
But troubles mostly come from agents of the state-run Vietnam Health Insurance.
In Vietnam, all staff members of governmental offices, state-run bodies, and state companies are covered by health insurance.
Students of all grades in the nation are also protected by health insurance. Children under six are by default under its protection.
Apart from freelance laborers, the retired and other elderly people are not covered either. By law, they can register for voluntary health insurance in household groups.
But it is not easy for those people to access health insurance.
L.Q.L. now residing in Hanoi said she was guided by an agent to buy health insurance in family groups and so she had to submit her family record book, temporary residence, and possible health insurance cards of other members in her family.
The agent even asked her to return to her hometown in the northern province of Thai Nguyen to get the insurance card for her two-year-old son.
After she explained that she had no time to return to her hometown, the agent called her company and she was finally granted the health insurance card.
Another woman in Hanoi told VnExpress newspaper that she had to visit the office of her health insurance agent three times to complete the procedures to buy it.
Other agents have asked people to submit certificates of divorce before granting health insurance cards to them in household groups.
In the meantime, people in the central city of Da Nang can easily register health insurance after they submit their identity card and temporary residence or family record book.
Pham Luong Son, head of the policy and procedure department under the Vietnam Health Insurance, said his agency has never asked staff to demand complicated procedures.
A man in Hanoi can buy health insurance in the southern province of Binh Duong after he registers people in his family with addresses and his identity card, Son confirmed.
“We are very ‘allergic’ to those complicated procedures,” he added.
Now, 73 percent of the Vietnamese population of around 90 million is under the coverage of health insurance with that number projected to be 80 percent by 2020.