Health Insurance for Afghan, Iraqi Refugees

Health Insurance for Afghan, Iraqi Refugees Health Insurance for Afghan, Iraqi Refugees

Registration under the health insurance program for Afghan and Iraqi refugees began on November 16 and will continue for two months.

Every member of Afghan and Iraqi households will be registered separately. Heads of households can register on behalf of family members by producing their identification documents, Khabaronline reported.

According to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the Iran Health Insurance Organization (IHIO),  the Interior Ministry’s Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs (BAFIA) and the UNHCR, all foreign refugees who have valid ID cards will henceforth  come under the national health insurance umbrella, said Majid Akbari, managing director of IHIO.

The number of refugees to be provided insurance coverage is nearly a million.

Online registration is possible, he said, and asked applicants to visit the organization’s website Special health insurance cards will be issued once the registration process is completed.

Health insurance for refugees will be provided in three different packages, including a specific one for patients with certain diseases, a separate one for vulnerable groups and a third package for refugees not in the first two groups.

The first group needn’t pay insurance premium; the second pays one-fourth of the regular insurance premium which is about $7 for a period of six months, and for the third group, the premium is fixed at $28 for six months, which will be paid by the UNHCR, Akbari added.

The cost of issuing an insurance card is less than $0.5 and will first be issued to specific patients from late November.

“However, from now onwards, those in need of inpatient services can make use of health insurance even before the cards are issued by collecting referral letters from our offices,” he said.

Akbari requested the refugees to apply gradually as “the registration process is open for two months.”

The government and the UN refugee agency seek to bolster refugee groups and enhance intervention in promoting their health, education and livelihoods, so as to eventually help them return to their country.

Iran is host to one of the largest and most protracted refugee populations in the world, mostly from neighboring Afghanistan. Wars, civil strife, poverty, political turbulence and insecurity for more than three decades has resulted in a huge influx of Afghan refugees converging on Iran with many taking up low-paid jobs with little security.

Estimates show that over a decade and half ago, three million Afghans were legally residing in the country, besides 1-1.5 million non-registered refugees. Today, there are nearly one million registered Afghan refugees living and working in the country.