Aasandha to introduce packages to reduce expenditure

Aasandha’s Managing Director Aminath Zeeniya gives an interview to Sun. (Photo/Infinite Moments/Mohamed Maavy)

Aasandha’s new Managing Director Aminath Zeeniya states efforts have been initiated to introduce special packages to reduce the expenditure on Aasandha and manage expenses of the social health insurance scheme more sustainably.

State’s expense on Aasandha continue to increase year by year and has been branded a burden to the state as revenue earned does not correspond to the expenses. Aasandha’s expenses have also been linked to wastefulness and corruption.  

In an interview to Sun, Zeeniya said plans have been made to combat this, adding efforts are underway to review the prices under Aasandha.

Zeeniya cited the huge expenses incurred abroad for healthcare services under Aasandha scheme as a topic highly talked about. However, she stressed that the company’s statistics show that the largest expenses under Aasandha are incurred to cover medications from local pharmacies and services from local private hospitals.

“I, in my post as the managing director, will work to reduce the costs of the scheme,” she pledged.

One of the first initiatives to reduce Aasandha expenditure, as per Zeeniya, will be to introduce special packages for major health conditions or surgeries.

“Once the packages are formulated, we can understand how much will be incurred for a particular surgery. Packages are similarly formulated elsewhere in the world as well. Costs have been reduced and sustained by introducing packages,” she said.

Zeeniya described the introduction of packages for services covered under Aasandha as one of the biggest initiatives in the pipeline.

“Most [patients] from Maldives are sent to India and Sri Lanka. The rates differ in these countries based on different states. The rates differ because of the variation in the standard of the hospital. We will also work on maintaining the same rates in one state where there are many hospitals,” she said.

An additional initiative that could be undertaken to reduce Aasandha expenditure, as explained by Zeeniya, is grading hospitals based on the similar levels when it comes to foreign nations. She assured all efforts necessary will be undertaken in this trajectory.

The state budget proposed for next year estimates Aasandha cost will rise to MVR 2.3 billion by the end of this year – which is MVR 1.3 billion higher than initially budgeted. MVR 1.2 billion had to be allocated for Aasandha from this year’s supplementary budget due to the increased Aasandha expenditure.

MVR 1.9 billion has been allocated for Aasandha in the state budget projected for next year.

Finance Ministry has warned of chances of Aasandha expenditure rising to MVR 3.4 billion if cost reduction measures are not implemented.

Medication covered under Aasandha scheme costs over MVR 500 million on average. 

The government therefore has taken measures to control the cost of medications. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), medication sold in the Maldives is priced 15 to 75 percent higher than the base price.