Iran marks National Health Insurance Day

November 4, 2019

TEHRAN – The National Health Insurance Day was celebrated during a ceremony in Tehran on Monday.

Iran’s universal public health insurance scheme, known as Salamat Health Insurance, covers hospitalization, para-clinical and out-patient services, including doctor’s visits, radiology, lab tests and medication costs at any public hospital affiliated with the Ministry of Health.

People who are not under any insurance coverage can benefit from Salamat Health Insurance.

8m Iranians covered by Salamat Health Insurance

During the event, Health Minister Saeed Namaki said that a scheme is launched today in the country to announce health insurance compulsory for all the residents not covered by any other insurances, ISNA reported.

“In the studies conducted on voluntary insurance coverage in 25 countries, we found that if we focus on voluntary insurance only, we would not be successful, therefore we decided to seek mandatory insurance coverage,” he added.

He went on to say that people who earn sufficient income are supposed to pay the insurance fees, but it is completely free of charge for those struggling financially, “so we are going through this plan to insure about 8 million people in the country.”

Reducing additional costs in the health sector ‘a must’

Referring to the importance of reducing extra costs, he said, “We prepared the infrastructures to replace online health record system, which helped reduce additional costs to the health system.”

One of the costliest cases in the health system is medicine, which accounts for 1.2 percent of the country’s gross domestic products (GDP), he said, adding, in developed countries, it constitutes about 6 percent of the GDP.

The ministry’s first step in controlling costs in the field of medicine was to increase domestic production and to reduce medicine import, he highlighted.

Only 3 percent of imported medicines have cost 30 percent of the whole medicine cost in the country, so producing this 3 percent could decrease the costs by 30 percent, he explained.

There is currently no pharmaceutical company to stop even one hour of production line by July next year, and there is no lack of medical equipment at the moment, he concluded.

People should have an equal right to access health services

First Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiri for his part said that the health system should provide the people with equal opportunity in receiving health care services.

The successful global experience that has so far been in the center of attention is the establishment of an insurance system on all issues, even when people are worried about floods, accidents, and fires, insurance coverage can address those concerns, he highlighted.

Emphasizing that due to the importance of health, health insurance is the main pillar of insurance and the main focus of justice for a society, he said that no country can claim justice unless provided all its residents with insurance coverage.

Salamat Health Insurance scheme was launched in the Iranian calendar year 1394 (March 2015- March 2016), covering some 10 million people.

Regional countries welcome Iran's experience in health insurance

Given that Iran’s public health insurance is pioneering in the region and in line with universal health coverage, regional countries are ready to use the country’s experience, Mohsen Asadi Lari, the health ministry’s director for international affairs, said during the event.

During the 66th session of the World Health Organization Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean, which was held in Tehran last month, Pakistan, Iraq, Tunisia, Libya, and other countries, expressed interest to use Iran's experience, he concluded.

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