Health financing for universal coverage

Health service utilization and the financial burden on households in Viet Nam: the impact of social health insurance

Discussion paper, Number 6/2006

World Health Organization

Publication details

Number of pages: 25
Publication date: 2006
Languages: English
WHO reference number: EIP/HSF/DP.06.6



Viet Nam is a low income country with more 60% of health spending being out-of-pocket payment by households. Social health insurance was introduced in Viet Nam in 1993, but it has so far been maintained at a relatively modest scale and mainly covers government and formal sector employees.

This paper evaluates the impact of social health insurance on the use of health services and on financial protection in Viet Nam. Results indicate that the insurance coverage increased access to public facility services but not to private facility services. The insured are also better protected from large financial burden due to health expenditures than the uninsured.

The study suggests that more attention needs to be paid to expanding insurance coverage, setting an appropriate benefit package and involvement by private facilities in the provision of insured health services.