Aasandha's policies will be revised: Health Minister

Health Minister Ahmed Naseem has said the current policies related to the government's health insurance scheme, Aasandha, are being reviewed. The review is ongoing to identify ways to include services that are currently not covered under the scheme.

Answering questions at the Parliament on Wednesday, Minister Naseem said discussions would be held between the government and Aasandha Company regarding changes that can be brought to Aasandha's policies. He said a report on the government's decisions would be prepared and submitted to the Parliament.

The minister further said Aasandha coverage does not extend to some essential areas. He acknowledged that many citizens questioned the lack of provision of these services under Aasandha.

'We will look into this and bring changes to resolve the issues where possible. We cannot do it all in one day; this is also a fact that must be considered,' he said.

Noting that the government spends approximately MVR 1.2 billion annually for Aasandha, the minister acknowledged that the government believed the Aasandha system had its flaws. He indirectly admitted that the system paved the way for corruption.

'..We must identify how much this is occurring. The current Aasandha arrangements have room for reform. I assure you, respected MPs, that we will undertake this task. Be assured that we will not support theft,' he said.

During the presidential campaign, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih pledged that the country's citizens would not have to beg for healthcare. However, many people resort to social media to raise funds for services that are not covered under Aasandha.

While the minister hinted that the Aasandha system was laced with corruption, the 2020 audit report on the company showed that the company was compliant with the Public Finance Act and regulations in their spending.