By Faranak Bakhtiari

Social Security Law: a new reform in health system

July 16, 2021 - 22:1

TEHRAN – The Social Security Organization (SSO) began its work in 1975, when the Social Security Law was approved, as a new transformation in the country's social and health system, providing coverage of wage-earners, salaried workers, homeless, the unemployed, the disabled, and the sick.

In Iran, July 16 was designated as the day of “welfare and social security” with the aim of achieving social justice.

SSO is a non-governmental organization and the largest pension fund in the country that covers more than 50 percent of Iran's population.

According to the latest statistics, over 14 million insured and more than 4 million retired and disabled benefit from long-term and short-term insurance and medical services of the organization.

More than 44 million people in the country are members of the social security organization, which provides 18 services in three areas of insurance, treatment, and economy.

The history of the Law on Social Services and Pension in Iran dates back to 1908 during the constitutional government in the first legislature, which was approved to provide services to government employees.

According to this law, in old age, disability, and retirement of the employees, 50 percent of the salary during the employment period was given to the family of retired recipients, and no amount was paid to the employee during the post-retirement period.

The law was revised in 1922-1929 and 1945, and 1922 was named as the year of social security law in the country.

Following the establishment of some social insurance institutions and the formation of the Ministry of Social Welfare in 1974, the “Social Security Organization” was set up as the initiator of a new transformation in the social system and health.

Today, the organization provides medical services to the insured population with 378 medical centers, including 70 hospitals, 5 limited surgery centers, 5 independent dental centers, 83 specialized polyclinics, 121 specialized clinics, a geriatric center, and 90 general clinics.

In the field of insurance services, more than 3.6 million retirees receive pensions, and these days, with the outbreak of the coronavirus, more than 50 percent of the country’s population has been supported in these health centers.

Offering services to COVID-19 patients in the hospitals, payment of sick leave and medical expenses, contracting with more than 50,000 centers to provide services to the insured, and accepting more than 190 million outpatient referrals in medical centers are among the most important measures during the pandemic.

A national electronic health record (EHR) system was established in March, in which every citizen is registered with the national ID number; it was also a fundamental change in the provision of medical services and the reduction in patients’ expenses.

It is hoped that the promotion of this social organization in the three areas of insurance, treatment, and economics leads to the comprehensive satisfaction of the target community by increasing the population under coverage.


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