After more than ten years actively developing micro health insurance in Cambodia (the Sky project), GRET launched a micro health insurance project targeting textile sector workers, the “Health Insurance Project” (HIP), in partnership with the textile sector employers’ association in 2008. The textile sector accounts for 80% of the country’s exports and employs 300,000 people
The HIP project is in line with the Cambodian government’s current social protection policy. Indeed, the Cambodian National Social Security Fund (NSSF), which has covered formal sector employees in regard to occupational accidents since 2008, is preparing to launch a health insurance branch in early 2012. GRET, based on its experience with the HIP project, took part in the debates on the laws that will regulate it.
In addition, the HIP project is testing, with the textile sector, a system to cover risks of illness so as to clarify the technical parameters for the NSSF and offer the various parties involved information clarifying the premium amounts needed. Enrollment is voluntary, and the premiums are split. evenly between employee and employer. Currently, with a team of 15 people, HIP covers 5,000 people in ten partner factories, attaining a penetration rate of nearly 50%. The partner health care providers are health centers and national hospitals, and all of the services offered are covered without any co-pays.
The HIP dynamic brings together representatives of the business owners’ association, employees and their unions, the NSSF, and the government authorities (Ministries of Health, Labor and Finances), thus forming an arena for dialogue, reflection and learning about health insurance that extends beyond the project. A blog was started to provide useful and fluid information on the HIP project’s current status, progress and activities: http://hipcambodia.blogspot.com.
HIP currently faces a double challenge: stabilize the statistical data crucial to assessing health insurance costs, and formalize its processes so as to transfer know-how and tools to the NSSF’s teams.