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Peru: Universal Health Insurance

(May 5, 2009) On April 8, 2009, President Alan Garcia Perez of Peru signed a framework law on universal health coverage. The law guarantees the full right of every individual to social security in matters of health and sets forth norms concerning access to, and the functions of, regulation, financing, provision of services by, and supervision of health insurance. The principles of universal health coverage set forth under Chapter I of the new law are:

  • universality – health is a basic right established in the Constitution and other legal documents and agreements signed by Peru, and therefore every person residing in the country has the guarantee of health protection without discrimination and at every stage of life;
  • solidarity – assuring that the costs for each person in need are met with resources proceeding from taxpayer contributions and the State;
  • unity – the coordination of policies, institutions, systems, procedures, financing, and provision of services to attain the objectives proposed in the law;
  • completeness – the provision of all services needed to solve specific health problems;
  • fairness – the health care system is to provide quality services to the entire Peruvian population, prioritizing the most vulnerable people and those with limited resources, and adopting measures to avoid discrimination based on financial standing or risk;
  • irreversibility – rights acquired to health care benefits cannot be affected by future health care policies; and
  • participation – involvement of citizens in the formulation and follow-up of universal health coverage policies.

Other chapters of the law cover: agents related to the process of universal health coverage (Ch. II); health insurance plans (Ch. III); financing of universal health coverage (Ch. IV); and formulation of services by the institutions providing health care (Ch. V). (Law No. 29344, EL PERUANO [the official gazette], Apr. 9, 2009, available at