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President Japarov amended the Health Insurance Law to expand coverage by mandating SHI - P4H Network

President Japarov amended the Health Insurance Law to expand coverage by mandating SHI

After approval by the Parliament, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov signed the Law “On Health Insurance of Citizens in the Kyrgyz Republic“, enforced immediately. This law has been introduced since 1990’s and has been amended with the purpose to make health coverage universal and mandatory.

Now the law requires that not only all citizens are subject to health insurance, but also foreign citizens including foreign students studying in Kyrgyzstan, as well as uninsured citizens who are not officially looking for a job, must acquire the Compulsory Health Insurance (CHI) status in Kyrgyzstan by paying for the annual health insurance coverage.

As reported by local news sources, Zhipara Azizbekova, a department head from the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund, has clarified, the law was amended to cover the entire population with health insurance. Current coverage in Kyrgyzstan is at 75%.

Under this law, the state pays for health insurance for the officially unemployed citizens, pensioners, including military, persons with disabilities, children and secondary school students up to age 18, students of higher education and vocational schools under 21 (except for those studying part time), people in the military service. For employed Kyrgyzstanis, health insurance contributions in the amount of two percent of the wage fund are deducted by employers.

Farmers and individual entrepreneurs are considered insured if they pay taxes, as taxes include contributions to compulsory health insurance.

Under the new amendments, uninsured citizens over 16 years of age who graduated from high school but are not students at vocational or higher education institutions, and do not pay contributions to compulsory social health insurance fund, must purchase a compulsory medical insurance policy for 1722 soms for 12 months to receive preferential medical services and preferential outpatient pharmaceuticals coverage. Students over the age of 21, as well as students who study part time, must also buy health insurance.

“What does 1,722 soms (about 20 USD) mean – this is how much a mandatory health insurance in Kyrgyzstan costs for one person for an entire year. If you divide this amount by 12, then you get such a little amount per month. No matter the size of the contribution, everyone receives the necessary care”, said Azizbekova.

“If a person is insured, then the pharmaceutical coverage for just one medicine at the outpatient level will cover the annual cost of the health insurance policy. In addition, if a person is insured, with a referral from a family doctor, care at a hospital will cost several times cheaper,” explained Zhipara Azizbekova from Compulsory Health Insurance Fund.

By the end of this year, as she noted, the entire population should be insured.About one million people who are currently un insured, are to be covered by insurance.

Azizbekova listed a number of advantages of being insured such as a free basic package of medical services at the outpatient level, up to 50 percent discount for more than 500 types of medicines at the outpatient level, covered preventive examinations and early disease detection. If a person does not want to buy a policy, there are no penalties.

He will not be refused care. Every citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic, regardless of insurance status, can receive free ambulance services, have a family doctor, and access 11 basic tests. But uninsured people have to pay for the full cost of other services, except for the treatment of socially dangerous diseases.