Health Insurance Companies Struggle to Find Customers

The experimental health insurance system introduced last year has seen a mediocre 2,092 subscribers until now, indicating a huge lack of public awareness.

The system started in July 2015 for a trial period of one year in order to support the public when they have health issues. State-run Myanmar Insurance Enterprise (MIE) and 11 local private insurers were allowed to insure the public, however, the amount of health insurance units sold has been dismal.

Although MIE and private insurance companies are marketing in different states and regions around the country with commercials through media, the public knowledge has not grown at all, industry insiders say.

“When we explain to the public about insurance policies, people just listen as if they are interested, but very few people buy insurance,” Daw Marlar Nyunt, manager of Aung Thitsar Oo Insurance Co, told Myanmar Business Today.

“Still very little… Our people are weak in preparedness and only remember when things happen.”

Health insurance can be bought for any citizen between the ages of one and 65 with K50,000 per unit and five units per person. Each unit has a lifespan of one year.

If those who have health insurance are injured, they can get healthcare from hospitals and clinics that are approved by the Ministry of Health with 30 days of insurance coverage that will cost K15,000 per day. If the patient dies after hospitalisation, the amount of insurance coverage during hospitalisation would be subtracted from K1 million and the patient’s family will get the difference.

“When selling health insurance, we try to speak as politely as possible. If a person is sick and hospitalised, the insurance will cover K15,000. If the person dies, insurance will cover K1 million. Sometimes it is hard to talk about death,” U Aye Min Thein, managing director of MIE, told Myanmar Business Today.

There are 17 exceptional cases the insurance will not cover. Child birth, miscarriage of pregnancy, hospitalisation for pregnancy, pre-existing conditions, if the patient has already gotten a referral from a doctor to get hospitalised, mental illness, treatment concerning mental illness, hearing aids and beautification surgery, among others are not covered by health insurance.

“This system is not like those offered abroad with different premium rates and different insurance cover amount. This is designed for short-term ailments and accidental injuries,” said Daw Marlar Nyunt.

So far, 11 local private insurance companies and three foreign insurance companies in special economic zones are allowed to operate insurance businesses.

“The health insurance system is on a trial run and the policies will be adjusted based on the status of insurance bought by the public,” U Aye Min Thein said.


Source: Myanmar Business Today

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