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Around 8.5 million people from the 10 million will continue to benefit from free health insurance.
Around 8.5 million people from the 10 million will continue to benefit from free health insurance.

1.5m People Could Lose Free Health Insurance

While debating the bill the government emphasized the necessity of “careful survey of eligibility” of people covered under the Salamat Insurance scheme

1.5m People Could Lose Free Health Insurance

Under a new bill introduced by the government that aims “to examine the financial status” of all those covered by the Salamat (Health) Insurance scheme following the implementation of the 2014 Health Reforms Plan, it is estimated that 1.5 million people will likely be removed from the scheme after a thorough review.
The bill has been approved by the Cabinet.
While debating the bill the government had emphasized the necessity of “careful survey of eligibility” of people covered under the Salamat Insurance scheme, ISNA reported.  
“Provision of free health insurance to all strata of applicants who had not been covered under other health insurance plans before the implementation of the (Salamat) scheme, was undertaken in the past three years,” said Kazem Mikaeili, head of the Health Insurance Department at the Labor Ministry.
Since the implementation of the 2014 health reforms, more than 10 million people were brought under coverage of free health insurance, by which different aspects of medical bills of patients at state-run hospitals are covered.
“According to the new bill, the eligibility of the 10 million people will be investigated,” Mikaeili said adding that, previously everyone could apply for the free health insurance without assessment of their financial status. In other words, the only criterion to apply for insurance then was not being covered by other insurance organizations.
The Iranian healthcare system is primarily an insurance based system. The 2014 Health Reform Plan was introduced to fulfill President Hassan Rouhani’s election promise (in 2013) of healthcare for all Iranians by 2018 under a nationwide health insurance program.
 “The government’s view is that those who can’t afford to pay insurance premium should be identified and exempted,” Dr. Mohammad Javad Kabir, managing director of Iranian Health Insurance Organization (IHIO) had said.
Paying for Healthcare
Based on the latest bill, the beneficiaries of free health insurance will be classified into two categories.
 In the first, those at the extreme end of the economic ladder and unable to pay premium will continue to get free health insurance.
The second category will comprise people identified (after evaluation) as being capable of paying premium. The latter are expected to pay premium between 15% and 100% based on their financial situation.
According to Mikaeili, almost 500,000 people are expected to be completely removed from the list and the remaining one million will have to pay part of the premium.
Around 8.5 million people from the 10 million will, however, continue to benefit from free health insurance. These people have a monthly income below $250 (10 million rials).
Before implementation of the free health insurance scheme experts had warned of the consequences of its implementation “without the necessary funding capability.”
Before its introduction, the Health Ministry had estimated that around five million people would be eligible for the plan. However after it was launched, double that number applied for which, it seems, the government and its decision-makers were ill prepared for.

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