ASSA 35: members share experience in social, health insurance

The 35th ASEAN Social Security Association (ASSA) Board Meeting continued on September 19, with members sharing practical outcomes in carrying out social and health insurance policies.

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Scene at the event
Delegates from Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam presented their views and lessons drawn from the implementation of the policies.

A representative from the Lao National Social Security Fund talked about the country’s method to improve coverage of voluntary social insurance. Accordingly, Lao citizens aging between 18 and 60 and capable of working are eligible to join voluntary social insurance. The premiums are equivalent to nine percent of their monthly salaries and can be paid via banking applications or at the insurance’s office. Benefits under the voluntary social insurance are more diverse than those in Vietnam. 

Many ASSA members reported that they took advantage of information and technology in reforming social welfare procedures. For example, Thailand has employed a smart phone application that allows users to select and change hospitals for their health insurance, and manage insurance payments and claims. The method has helped cut time and cost for insurance participants.

At the session discussing health insurance, ASSA members praised Vietnam’s achievement in developing an assessment and multiple-level payment system. The assessment database, which connects all medical facilities covered by health insurance with the Vietnam Social Security (VSS) via the internet, was put into use in 2016. The database consists of more than 81 million profiles of insurance card holders and hundreds of millions of health records needed to be accessed annually. The system has helped the VSS increase its management of health insurance fund, and prevention of fund abuses.

The session also delved into difficulties in expanding the coverage of social and health insurance in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, among others. 

The ongoing 35th ASSA Board Meeting, hosted by the VSS, opened on September 18 in Nha Trang, the resort city of Khanh Hoa in central Vietnam. It brought together about 170 delegates, including the ASSA President, leaders of national social security institutions and diplomats from ASEAN member states. 

The event’s main theme is the challenges and opportunities of ASEAN social security institutions in the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution and free flow of labour.

The ASSA was found in 1998 following the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement in Bangkok, Thailand on February 13 that year, involving heads of social security institutions from five countries - the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Representatives from Laos and Vietnam also attended the signing ceremony as observers. Later the year, the VSS became a member of ASSA.

ASSA members now comprise 19 social security institutions from ten ASEAN nations.

This is the fifth time the VSS has chaired the ASSA Board Meeting. It undertook the chairmanship during the 2002 – 2003 term and successfully organised the ASSA Board Meeting in 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2010.

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