Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s government has postponed indefinitely the planned introduction of a nationwide system of mandatory medical insurance that would make healthcare more accessible to Armenians.
The previous Armenian cabinet headed by Tigran Sarkisian instructed Armenia’s State Healthcare Agency late last year to develop a “concept” for such a reform in the next few months. Officials said at the time the new healthcare system could come into force as early as in January 2015.
Saro Tsaturian, the head of the agency subordinate to the Health Ministry, said on Friday the government has received corresponding proposals but will not act on them anytime soon. “I don’t know the reason for that,” Tsaturian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutun.am).
A government spokesman, Tigran Abrahamian, confirmed that the planned reform has been put on hold but declined to comment further. “The government plans no steps to make health insurance mandatory in the near future,” he said.
Ever since the Soviet break-up Armenians have had to pay for most of the services provided by various medical institutions. Many people in the country have been unable to afford the relatively high cost of medical treatment. Widespread corruption in the healthcare sector only aggravates the problem.
Only public sector employees as well as a small minority of people working for private firms currently have health insurance.