ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Health insurance in Myanmar: premium versus benefits debate continues
Debate continues amongst potential health insurance providers over affordable premiums for health insurance balanced against viable financial coverage for people hospitalised, industry sources tell Mizzima.
Currently, local insurance companies have been proposing different premium rates for health insurance products.
But the Insurance Business Regulatory Board has to supervise a balance of premium rates and health coverage.
Companies appear caught between trying to provide affordable premiums and being able to cover the expenses of a patient who gets hospitalised.
There is also an apparent reluctance to cover other medical costs.
Dr Maung Maung Thein, chairman of the IBRB, said coverage would provide K10, 000 (US$10) per unit for hospitalization costs each day.
“If health insurance covered a wide range of benefits, premium rates would be higher. As a result, it would be hard for the public to buy health insurance, and this would prove a moral hazard for the insurance industry,” he said.
U Thaung Han, Citizen Business Insurance managing director, told Mizzima: “Generally speaking, premium rates commonly proposed range from K50,000 to K75,000 (US$ 50 to US$ 75) annually. Differences in the premium rates will depend on age, with the rates higher for those who are older.”
Right now, however, it is difficult to guess at what rates the premiums will be fixed, he said, adding that foreign insurance companies with offices in Yangon had warned they consider the proposed premium rates are quite low.
Dr Maung Maung Thein told Mizzima a task force including representatives from 12 local private insurance companies, the Ministry of Health, Myanmar Private Hospitals’ Association, and the Department of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement is working on plans to adopt the health insurance scheme.
In addition, representatives from some of the 14 foreign insurance companies opening representative offices in Myanmar are acting as consultants, he said.
The health insurance scheme will start with pilot projects in the cities of Yangon and Mandalay before being spread wider afield.
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