PALAU PUSHING FOR NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR (Palau Horizon, Nov. 20) — The Ministry of Health is pushing anew for a national health insurance plan that would make health care services more accessible and affordable.

Bureau of Public Health Director Stevenson Kuartei said the plan should focus on health indicators, and will study the common medical problems that should be covered by insurance.

Kuartei said the plan should also promote and reward those who want to stay healthy.

He said the plan could be either a government program or a joint project by the government and a private entity. The government can also hire a private entity to handle the insurance, he said.

The proposed insurance plan, according to Kuartei will be tax-based, which means that premium payments will be shouldered by revenues obtained from the tobacco and alcohol tax.

He noted, however, that premiums would only cover primary and secondary health care while referrals would be covered by supplemental insurance.

He said the funds could also be obtained from taxes levied on high-risk food items.

He said the proposed plan would cover everyone, citizens and non-citizens.

November 20, 2003

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