EghtesadOnline: Iran Health Insurance Organization has plans to extend health insurance to refugees in the next fiscal year that starts in March 2020.
So far "approximately 92,000 foreigners are covered by the “Salamat [health] Insurance Scheme," said an official with the IHIO. The scheme provides all registered Afghan and Iraqi refugees health insurance cover similar to Iranians.
The coverage is offered as a part of an agreement between the Interior Ministry’s Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants’ Affairs (BAFIA), the Iranian Health Insurance Organization (IHIO Salamat) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Health insurance for refugees comes in two packages, including one for vulnerable groups, such as unprotected women, orphans, the elderly and families with children under 18 years, according to Financial Tribune.
The premium for vulnerable groups is paid by the UNHCR, whereas the insured pays the premium for refugees that are not considered as vulnerable. Refugees suffering from rare diseases benefit from the basic insurance package, including hospitalization, treatment and para-clinical services.
About 1.5 million refugees with valid residence permits are eligible for health insurance.
According to IHIO officials, the organization has the capacity to handle 850,000 refugees.
Iran is host to one of the largest and most protracted refugee populations in the world, mostly from Afghanistan. Decades of military conflicts, terrorism, political turmoil, civil strife, poverty and joblessness saw a huge influx of Afghan refugees converging on Iran and Pakistan.
Many make do with menial and low-paid work with little or no job security. It is reported that over a decade and half ago, three million Afghans were legally residing in Iran plus almost 1.5 million illegals.
Most Afghan refugee children are enrolled free in Iranian schools and many study in Iranian universities and centers of higher learning.
However, in recent years as the economic conditions worsened, the government in Tehran made it known that it wants the refugees to leave sooner rather than later.