CAIRO: Providing adequate healthcare for all Egyptians would cost 16 billion EGP ($2.29 billion) annually, Health Insurance Organization Chairman Ali Hegazy said in an interview on Mehwar TV Sunday.
The Health Insurance Organization (HIO) is self-funded through monthly subscriptions of employees as well pensions, said Hegazy, adding that the current fund amounts to 4.7 billion EGP ($674 million) annually and is not sufficient to cover all citizens who need health insurance.
According to the official HIO website, 40 hospitals equipped with 455 beds in intensive care units are in the organization’s network, and are responsible for covering more than 58 percent of Egypt’s population of roughly 90 million.
Hegazy said the organization has contracted with 605 third-parties nationwide, including Ministry of Health, armed forces and private hospitals to cover shortages of medicines or beds.
However, many groups of citizens fall outside the national health insurance umbrella, he said, including fishermen, farmers, temporary employees and street vendors.
The Ministry of Agriculture and HIO have discussed regulations for a farmers’ health insurance plan and to define the sum needed for the plan, reported Youm7.
The total cost of state-funded treatments reaches 1.7 billion EGP annually, including 130 open-heart surgeries every month at the children’s hospital affiliated with HIO, according to Heagzy.
He said that all citizens should be entitled to state-provided health insurance. As for the sources of funding, he suggested imposing a 5 percent tax on cigarettes and cement production to benefit the Health Insurance Organization (HIO).
Additional reporting by Adel Dorra and Hossam Mostafa