Azerbaijan prepares for compulsory health insurance

19 August 2015 16:32 (UTC+04:00)

By Nigar Orujova

Azerbaijan will enforce the use of mandatory health insurance in the near future, said Hadi Rajabli, chairman of the Committee on Social Policy of the Parliament.

Rajabli said Azerbaijan is carrying out systematic work in preparation for expected application of compulsory medical insurance.

Currently, a number of countries are being studied and evaluated for their applicable experiences in health insurance, he said. After the imposition of compulsory medical insurance, the system of financing the health care sector will be fully updated in Azerbaijan.

“We have a legal basis for compulsory health insurance. However, radical change of the health care financing is needed, and therefore the issue is rather late. The experts are studying the international experience. The experience of Croatia and Turkey in this area is very attractive and so we can use it,” said Rajabli.

He went on to explain that when a citizen comes to the doctor with an insurance card, he or she will be given treatment. “This card will be given all the medical procedures that will be paid in addition, that is, not from salary.”

In addition, the implementation of obligatory medical insurance, Rajabli said, helps to eliminate the various negative transactions that exist between doctor and patient. “The patient can also count on free prescription medicines prescribed by a doctor, since this medication will be covered by health insurance.”

Azerbaijan adopted a law on medical insurance in 1999. According to the law, a compulsory form of health insurance is an integral part of the state social insurance policy and ensures the provision of medicines and medical service to the population.

Experts believe the application of the compulsory health insurance will decrease citizen expenses to health services by approximately two times.

Zaur Orujov, a general physician, said there is no need to talk about advantages of insured medical practices; they are as obvious as the advantages of an emergency ambulance, for instance.

"This reform should be implemented by entirely new structures like ASAN service. This issue needs straight, rigid control on the highest level and should engage young professionals with experience in this matter, who studied and worked in countries where this system was used for decades," he told AzerNews.

Currently, insurance companies provide services for voluntary health insurance, even though it is one of the most unprofitable types of insurance in the world.

From January to May, the share of voluntary health insurance accounted for almost 13 percent or 39.95 million manat of the total amount of insurance premiums collected in Azerbaijan. Insurance settlements amounted to 20.58 million manat.

In the first five months of this year, total insurance fees for all types of insurance amounted to 133.75 million manat with payments of 57.3 million manat.

Experts believe the absence of mandatory health insurance does not allow health care to reach a new level of quality.

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Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar

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