According to media reports, the Health Ministry is planning to introduce an additional health insurance layer.
Around 22.3 billion kuna, which the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance (HZZO) has available this year, will be sufficient for stable operation of health facilities, but not for the return of 2.5 billion kuna of debt, according to the Association of Employers in Health System (UPUZ), which supports the idea of Health Minister Dario Nakić that debts should be returned by introducing additional health insurance payments, reports Index.hr on March 27, 2016.
UPUZ president Dražen Jurković says that one of the options for the repayment of debts would be the introduction of a higher standard of services which would be paid separately and would bring additional funds into the healthcare system, which was mentioned as a possibility by the Minister two months ago.
Jurković says that the additional health insurance would be arranged exclusively by private insurers, but that it is not possible at this time to forecast how much it would cost since standards have still not been defined.
According to UPUZ’s proposal, the imperative would be to maintain the current standard of health care, including its social component. HZZO’s basic and supplementary health insurance should remain of high quality and accessible to all citizens, and the basic patient rights should be guaranteed.
This would mean that, for example, the cheapest generic drugs and supplies of standard quality would be covered by the HZZO, just like now. However, if someone wants to get better stents, artificial knees or hips, or more expensive drugs of the same generic group, they would have to pay the difference in the price themselves. According to UPUZ, the additional payment for more expensive varieties of generic drugs could bring about 500 million kuna a year, which is 10 percent of the total annual budget spent on medical drugs. The new higher standard of services would include the free choice of specialists in hospitals which is not guaranteed by law, but could become part of the additional health insurance.
UPUZ also mentioned the issue of the treatment of non-emergency patients at hospitals’ emergency departments. These are patients who should be treated by their family physicians. In the future, hospital emergency departments would continue to accept such patients only if they have private supplementary insurance or pay for it when arriving in hospital.
Asked whether the UPUZ’s proposals were similar to the new model which the Health Ministry is working on, the Ministry only responded that “the guidelines are being prepared, but at this time, we do not want to discuss them in public”.