One of the key issues discussed by the Ministry of Health on the sidelines of the revised Law on Health Insurance is the proposal for the Health Insurance Fund to pay for examination and screening for early detection of cervical cancer.
Recently, the Ministry of Health organized the conference “Proposal to expand the scope of health insurance benefits on early diagnosis and treatment for some diseases in the revised health insurance law project” in Hanoi.
Health insurance covers early diagnosis and treatment of some diseases
Ms. Tran Thi Trang, Acting Director of the Health Insurance Department, said that the Ministry of Health proposed the Health Insurance Fund pay for examination and screening fees for early detection of disease groups such as cervical cancer and breast cancer, hypertension, diabetes, hepatitis C and B.
The Ministry of Health’s proposal to expand the scope of people’s health insurance benefits in order to synchronize policies with the Law on Medical Examination and Treatment taking effect in 2024, as well as the people’s health care strategy. This proposal is based on international experience, scientific evidence, disease models of concern.
In addition, it is possible to bring screening techniques and diagnosis techniques for these diseases to be implemented at commune-level and district-level health units. These are techniques that are not difficult that grassroots healthcare system can be implemented, while expanding the scope of health insurance services that cover basic healthcare.
Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer helps reduce the burden of medical costs
Cervical cancer is a common cancer in women. The disease is preventable with vaccines and cured when detected early and treated early. In Viet Nam, there are 5,100 cases of cervical cancer each year and 50% of women died from cervical cancer. If not treated the disease early, this rate can increase, along with the difficult treatment, the cost is much greater.
At the seminar, medical experts said that 99-100% of cases of cervical cancer in the early stage, precancerous stage are cured. Viet Nam is aiming for 60% of women in risk groups to be screened for cervical cancer early by 2025. Currently, only 28% of women in the risk group are screened. Over the past 5 years, this rate has averaged only 21%.
The early detection and treatment of these diseases will help improve the quality of life and reduce treatment costs and economic burden on patients.
Regarding the cost saved when early screening, in the first year the cost of treatment remained quite high (more than 9,000 billion VND), then gradually decreased due to the reduction in the number of severe complications, by the 4th year it was only 195 billion VND.
In particular, from the 5th year, it will not cost money but also save costs for treatment. Specifically, it is estimated to save more than 7,700 billion VND by the 10th year.
Consider extending insurance benefits when adjusting the price of medical services
According to Mr. Le Van Phuc, Head of the Health Insurance Policy Implementation Department (Vietnam Social Security), said including the list of payment for screening and early detection of some diseases in the draft Law on Health Insurance is one of the new points. Currently, the Law on Health Insurance only pays for medical examination and treatment services.
“Screening and early detection of some diseases such as cervical cancer in the long term will bring many benefits. People have better prevention, in case of early detection, early treatment can be achieved, reducing treatment costs. According to the draft, this screening will focus on certain high-risk groups.
However, the current problem is that the health insurance fund is still limited, mainly focusing on paying for medical examination and treatment. In the future, when adjusting the price of medical services, it is also necessary to consider expanding the benefits of health insurance participants”, Mr. Phuc said.