South Korean help on health in­sur­ance sys­tem

People's Review - - LAST PAGE - (The writer is the KOICA pub­lic aware­ness of­fi­cer) BY MINJUNG SOHN

South Korea started the health in­sur­ance pro­gram with en­act­ment of the health in­sur­ance act in 1963. It was the time when, per cap­i­tal GDP of the coun­try was US 140. They started by im­ple­ment­ing the health in­sur­ance pro­gram for the govern­ment sec­tor only, be­cause as­cer­tain­ing the earn­ings from other sec­tors is dif­fi­cult. Af­ter years of ex­per­i­ment, the South Korean govern­ment made en­roll­ment from large-scale work places com­pul­sory in 1977. In the first stage, en­roll­ment was made com­pul­sory for firms hav­ing 500+ em­ploy­ees, which was ex­tended to the firms with more than 100 em­ploy­ees in 1981 and 16 em­ploy­ees in 1983. Sim­i­larly, the cover­age was ex­panded to the pub­lic ser­vants and pri­vate school teach­ers in 1979. For those who couldn't pay the con­tri­bu­tion, the govern­ment im­ple­mented that Med­i­caid paid the con­tri­bu­tion for poor and low in­come res­i­dents. Fi­nally, cover­age was ex­panded to the self-em­ployed groups and pri­vate sec­tor so­ci­ety such as artists and bar­bers and in 1989 health in­sur­ance be­came a universal pro­gram by cov­er­ing al­most all (94 ) of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion. To cover the en­tire pop­u­la­tion, more than 400 health in­sur­ance so­ci­eties have made mas­sive so­cial mar­ket­ing ploys for en­roll­ment. They also worked hand in hand in creat­ing de­mand and strength­en­ing sup­ply. As there were few pub­lic health fa­cil­i­ties, the govern­ment pro­vided loans to the pri­vate sec­tor for es­tab­lish­ing health fa­cil­i­ties in the ru­ral ar­eas. Over this time, now 2017 in South Korea, the rapid eco­nomic devel­op­ment and so­cial wel­fare sys­tem stunned the del­e­gates, es­pe­cially the health in­sur­ance sys­tem. Their strat­egy to cover all the pop­u­la­tion, state of arts health in­fra­struc­tures and reg­u­la­tion of pri­vate health ser­vice providers are the ar­eas that par­tic­u­larly as­ton­ished del­e­gates. On 4 to 14 July, the highlevel del­e­gates visit was or­ga­nized by Korea In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency (KOICA) in South Korea to ob­serve the world's best health in­sur­ance sys­tem. Nepal is now re­ceiv­ing much sup­port for devel­op­ment from many coun­tries. KOICA, one of the bi­lat­eral or­ga­ni­za­tion, has been work­ing in Nepal since 1991, lead­ing tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion and grant aid on be­half of the govern­ment of the repub­lic of Korea. KOICA is a govern­men­tal for­eign aid agency of the repub­lic of Korea, work­ing on devel­op­ment pro­grams world­wide which en­deavor to com­bat poverty and sup­port sus­tain­able so­cioe­co­nomic growth of part­ner coun­tries. The KOICA Nepal of­fice has also been ac­tive in sup­port­ing project im­ple­men­ta­tion, the dis­patch of Korean vol­un­teers, fel­low­ship pro­gram, pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship pro­gram and mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion. Hyungkyoo Kim, Coun­try Direc­tor of KOICA Nepal of­fice, said that I came to Nepal im­me­di­ately af­ter the earth­quake as a coun­try direc­tor of KOICA Nepal. He de­cided to take it as an op­por­tu­nity to sup­port the govern­ment in their devel­op­ment agen­das. He truly be­lieves that the vi­sion, mis­sion and lead should al­ways be taken by the govern­ment rather than for­eign devel­op­ment part­ners. There­fore, in sup­port­ing sus­tain­able this health in­sur­ance sys­tem KOICA is ready to con­vey full sup­port to the Min­istry of Health and So­cial Health Se­cu­rity Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee. In an ef­fort to sup­port the na­tional health in­sur­ance pro­gram of the govern­ment of Nepal, KOICA has al­ways worked closely with the Min­istry of Health for es­tab­lish­ing and en­hanc­ing the health in­sur­ance sys­tem in Nepal. KOICA's sup­port for im­ple­ment­ing the Na­tional Health In­sur­ance Project is one of the im­por­tant in­ter­ven­tions in en­hanc­ing govern­ment ca­pac­ity for es­tab­lish­ing health in­sur­ance sys­tem in Nepal. This project comes in just at the right time, when the Nepali govern­ment is also ready to im­ple­ment health in­sur­ance in a se­ri­ous man­ner. KOICA see no other choice than suc­cess­fully im­ple­ment­ing this health in­sur­ance sys­tem to en­sure ev­ery­body's ac­cess to qual­ity health care. In South Asia, Nepal has the high­est out of pocket ex­pen­di­ture in terms of health care, com­pared to any other coun­try. The govern­ment bud­get for health care sup­port is not suf­fi­cient for en­sur­ing qual­ity health care for peo­ple, es­pe­cially poor and marginal­ized groups. In such given sce­nar­ios, we are not left with many choices other than es­tab­lish­ing and suc­cess­fully im­ple­ment­ing the health in­sur­ance sys­tem on Nepal. Thus, KOICA with So­cial Health Se­cu­rity Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee has started im­ple­men­ta­tion of the so­cial health in­sur­ance scheme in Kailali, Baglung and Il­lam dis­tricts. Un­til this year Nepal has been ag­gres­sively work­ing to­wards ex­pand­ing health in­sur­ance cover­age from 15 dis­tricts to 35 dis­tricts of the prov­inces. For the im­pov­er­ished fam­i­lies in Nepal, who may strug­gle to pay the small­est of med­i­cal costs, this will be of great as­sis­tance as they could re­ceive a health in­sur­ance ben­e­fit of 50,000 per fam­ily, per year (Based on 4 peo­ple). Namely, the health in­sur­ance sys­tem in Nepal will be very at­trac­tive to those with health is­sues be­cause it can re­duce the price bur­den. In the glob­al­ized world, universal ac­cess to health ser­vices can be­come sim­ply pol­icy ob­jec­tives, re­gard­less of whether they are rich or poor na­tions. The health in­sur­ance sys­tem shows that low in­come and mid­dle in­come coun­tries have to achieve universal health cover­age in or­der that all peo­ple re­ceive health ser­vices with­out any fi­nan­cial hard­ship when they need. KOICA is cur­rently en­gaged in a num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties such as build­ing a health in­sur­ance pol­icy, de­sign­ing a com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­egy, pro­duc­ing pro­mo­tional ma­te­ri­als for rais­ing aware­ness of health in­sur­ance, dis­tribut­ing med­i­cal equip­ment and invit­ing train­ing work­shop. KOICA is ac­tively plan­ning ac­tiv­i­ties to raise and in­crease aware­ness of health in­sur­ance. And as stated by KOICA's coun­try part­ner­ship strat­egy 2016-2020, en­sur­ing universal cover­age is one of our im­por­tant strate­gic ob­jec­tives. Hence, KOICA want to show my full com­mit­ment for sup­port­ing the govern­ment of Nepal in es­tab­lish­ing this health in­sur­ance sys­tem in the coun­try. KOICA be­lieve our sup­port can be uti­lized more ef­fi­ciently by pri­or­i­tiz­ing knowl­edge trans­fer from South Korea to Nepal and ca­pac­ity devel­op­ment pro­gram in ad­di­tion to al­ready ex­ist­ing lo­gis­tics Sup­port.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nepal

© PressReader. All rights reserved.