Mandatory health insurance to enforce by 2017

By: Nigar Orujova

Azerbaijan will launch a pilot project for the introduction of mandatory health insurance by 2017.

Zaur Aliyev, director of the State Agency for Compulsory Health Insurance under the Cabinet of Ministers, stressed that compulsory health insurance will be introduced first in public hospitals.

“The pilot project may start in one area of the country or among the representatives of a particular profession. We will take the final decision after examining the positive and negative aspects of each of these options,” he said.

He noted during the introduction of compulsory medical insurance the major demand for medical institutions will be quality services, professional doctors, efficiency, etc. It is necessary to create competition among medical institutions, because it will improve the quality of services. “However, the competition will not be based on price, but on the services provided, and the knowledge of doctors.”

Azerbaijan intends to enforce the use of mandatory medical insurance to ensure citizens receive high-quality medical care. The state has decided to enforce the requirement from January 2016, but the budget for the program has yet to be defined.

Aliyev noted that as international practice shows, the preparation for the introduction of compulsory health insurance and its full implementation in the country could take three to five years.

“2016 will be a very important year for our agency. First, we must decide on organizational work, and the staff should be formed. These operations are conducted in simultaneously and we attract strong specialists in this field,” he said.

Aliyev believes that next year will be a preparatory step for the introduction of compulsory medical insurance when the agency will define financing, fundraising, the structure of the basic package of services, and form a single table of prices.

In the first half of 2016, the agency will identify key moments of a model of compulsory health insurance, and make changes in the law, while the medical facilities will finalize preparations to introduce compulsory insurance.

it is also planned to involve foreign experts during the preparatory period, he noted.

Compulsory health insurance remains a priority in Azerbaijan’s insurance policy. The mandatory insurance program ensures citizens to receive free, high-quality medical care and eliminates unofficial payments from the health system.

Experts believe that the application of the compulsory health insurance will cut citizen expenses for health services by nearly half.