By Sara Israfilbayova
The topic of the compulsory health insurance has once again stolen the spotlight of the governmental attention during the opening ceremony of the “Support to Implementation of the mandatory health insurance system in Azerbaijan” twinning project held on November 27.
Zaur Aliyev, director of the State Agency for Compulsory Health Insurance under the Cabinet of Ministers addressing the event said that the Agency that he heads considers it necessary to improve the basic package of compulsory health insurance.
“In the framework of the pilot project, we did not include medicines in the basic package of mandatory health insurance, which creates certain problems for the treatment process, and therefore we assess the possibility of partial drug provision included in the basic package,” he said.
The head of the State Agency also noted that in the future the system of collection of insurance premiums, which was not conducted within the framework of the pilot project, will be tested.
Further, Aliyev noted that foreign citizens who come to Azerbaijan for a long-term stay will be able to use mandatory health insurance system just like Azerbaijani citizens.
“If foreign citizens come to Azerbaijan for a short-term stay, they will be able to use travel insurance, just like Azerbaijani citizens do when traveling to other countries,” Aliyev said.
In turn, Head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Ambassador Kestutis Jankauskas stressed that the European Union will allocate 1.1 million euros to support mandatory health insurance in Azerbaijan.
Jankauskas noted that France and Lithuania will act as Azerbaijan’s partners as part of this twinning project, further adding that the project will last for two years and will be completed in August 2019.
MP Musa Guliyev told reporters that introduction of mandatory health insurance throughout Azerbaijan may start in 2019, adding that experience of foreign countries shows that it usually takes several years to fully introduce mandatory health insurance.
“I believe the first year of introduction of mandatory health insurance in Azerbaijan was successful,” Guliyev said. “The results of the pilot project in the city of Mingachevir and Yevlakh regions of Azerbaijan satisfy us. Next year, the scope of the pilot project will expand,” MP explained.
“It is planned to make additions and changes to the Law on Mandatory Health Insurance,” he added. “They will allow introducing mandatory health insurance throughout Azerbaijan. In addition, there are a number of issues that depend on the mandatory health insurance, for example, the creation of legislative basis for protecting patient rights.”
Implementation of mandatory medical insurance in Azerbaijan is planned within the health care reform framework.
The mandatory insurance program ensures citizens to receive free, high-quality medical care and eliminates unofficial payments from the health system.
Including some 1,800 medical services, the compulsory medical insurance is a new and innovative direction in the social policy of the Azerbaijan. Among the services covered by the insurance, are inspection, treatment, diagnostic procedures, surgical procedures, and other services.
The mandatory insurance is an integral part of health care reform, which will increase the financial capacity of the health system. The State Agency for Compulsory Health Care Insurance, established in February 2016, aims to ensure access to health services for all citizens.
The project’s purpose is to strengthen the institutional capacity at the State Agency on Mandatory Health Insurance to plan, execute and monitor healthcare spending in three elements: collection, accumulation of funds and purchasing of healthcare services.
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