Private Health Insurance Gets Government Green Light

By Kyaw Hsu Mon & Nobel Zaw 16 June 2015

RANGOON — Burma’s premier insurance providers will begin offering health coverage on July 1, beginning a one-year pilot project approved by the Ministry of Finance.

Eleven licensed private insurers will soon offer coverage at a standard rate of 50,000 kyat (US$45) per unit per year with a maximum of five units. All healthy citizens between the ages of 6 and 65 years will be eligible during the first year trial.

“We will adjust the health insurance regulations during this first year,” Deputy Finance Minister Maung Maung Thein told reporters on Monday.

Initial policies contain some restrictions on eligibility and applicable services, the deputy minister said. Coverage will not extend to abortion, child delivery, dental, eye or cosmetic surgery, and treatment for mental illness and drug addiction will be exempt.

Maximum yearly compensation will be standardized at 5 million kyat for individual subscribers. Customers will not be reimbursed for treatment in foreign hospitals, providers said.

Insurers will be free to offer benefits to employers, such that they can purchase monthly plans with a maximum payout of 15,000 kyat per day for up to 30 days of treatment for employees.

“Our customers have asked us about health insurance many times, especially companies, because they want insurance for their employees,” Myo Min Thu, managing director of Ayeyar Myanmar Insurance, told The Irrawaddy, adding that insurers have been preparing to implement health plans for some time and do not anticipate any major setbacks.

Since 2013, the Burmese government has licensed 11 private insurance companies, several of which are offshoots of the country’s largest banking enterprises due to the large amount of capital required for registration.

With the addition of new health services, private insurers will be authorized to sell a dozen types of assurance including fire, motor, life, cash in transit, cash in safe and fidelity bonds.