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Ministry To Draft New Health Insurance Law

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The Ministry of Health plans to introduce a Health Insurance Law to improve the healthcare system and ensure patients benefit as intended.

It is expected the law will come into effect in late 2018. It will ensure that money is available to pay patients who are members of the Health Insurance Fund for medical costs specified in the insurance agreement.

A legal expert at the ministry, Dr Chansamone Phengsavanh, told Vientiane Times yesterday the law is needed in response to public demand for an improved healthcare service system for members of the fund.

For several years now, members of the Health Insurance Fund have been complaining of the poor service they have received from hospitals. Patients say that doctors, nurses and other staff don’t provide them with good quality care.

In Laos, they say, health workers still practice old-fashioned working methods just as they did many years ago.

This means they don’t take proper care of hospital patients, believing they need only provide minimal services as they are not required by law to do otherwise.

The Health Insurance Fund is operated by the Social Insurance Agency of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. But there have been problems with coordination between hospitals and the ministry concerning the reimbursement of treatment costs.

The ministry has been unable to resolve this problem because of the lack of a Healthcare Insurance Law, Dr Chansamone said.

We think that members of the fund will benefit from such a law because the Health Insurance Fund is operated by the Ministry of Health, he added.

The scheme would be administered by a government agency under the ministry so that it would be more efficient and provide a better system for patients, he said.

In 2017-2018, the ministry also plans to strengthen the Law on Disease Control, Hygiene and Health Promotion.

From 2011 to 2015 the following laws have been passed to improve the health sector: Law on Alcoholic Beverages; Healthcare Law; Law on Food; Law on Drugs and Medical Products; Law on Hygiene, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; Law on HIV/AIDS Control and Prevention; and the Law on Tobacco Control.

According to the National Assembly, Laos now has more than 100 laws in effect.

Source: Vientiane Times

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