Palau continues to be in the top 10 list of countries with highest obesity rates with reported average BMI of 29.4. Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) cases is rising in Palau across all age groups and NCD related illness is major cause of death in Palau.
As such, related medical services such as hemodialysis treatment is expected to grow in demand. A law recently passed appropriating funds to purchase 5 new hemodialysis machines to serve about 30 patients.
A bill has been proposed in the Senate seeking the feasibility of Palau National Health Insurance including the coverage of hemodialysis treatment in the insurance services.
The bill proposed that Health Care Fund Governing Committee conduct a feasibility study “analyzing the feasibility of including coverage for hemodialysis treatment under Palau Health Insurance.”
The proposal seeks the feasibility of adding “hemodialysis and catastrophic coverage” within the Palau Health Insurance. It calls the Committee to “examine the possibility of introducing “catastrophic coverage” that allows participants to make additional contributions to Medical Saving Funds in exchange for higher coverage.”
Report from Senator Dr. Stevenson Kuartei, Chairman of Senate Committee on Health & Social Welfare on the cost of hemodialysis treatment for 30 patients, said that cost of treatment for 30 patients per year is approximately $1,184,842,00 or about $39,494.00 per year per person.
In the 10th government when the same issue was raised, Dr. Victor Yano, Chairman of the Health Care Fund Governing Committee had suggested that the cap placed on the amount of the NCD Funds be removed allowing HCF to use the remainder of the NCD Funs for hemodialysis treatment.
Hemodialysis treatment was excluded from the national health insurance under RPPL 8-14 as financially unsustainable.