Supplementary Health Insurance to Get More Expensive

Total Croatia News

The debts in the healthcare sector are growing.

Health Minister Milan Kujundžić announced that there would be an increase in the price of supplementary health insurance. However, the Health Ministry later said that it was just one of the options being considered to increase healthcare sector revenues, reports on 12 July 2017.

The Croatian Institute for Health Insurance (HZZO) said that they were doing analyses and projections that will show whether changes will be needed and what changes will be required. “The HZZO will align its business practices with the Ministry, considering possible changes to the Law on Mandatory Health Insurance and the Law on Voluntary Health Insurance,” the HZZO said.

While the Ministry is planning to cover debts by forcing citizens to pay more, the Croatian healthcare system is near collapse. Waiting lists are getting longer, and patients are dissatisfied because they have to pay extra for some procedures and medicines which are not included on official HZZO lists.

Apart from patients, there are also dissatisfied physicians many of whom are leaving Croatia. Those who are still here have to work overtime and are paid much less than their colleagues in other European countries.

Mario Drlje, president of the Association of Patients, is naturally against the latest Minister’s proposal. “We have just some rough numbers, but if you look at how many retirees there are, people with frozen bank accounts, impoverished, those who work for the minimum wage and those who do not receive salaries, it means there are about 2.5 million people who could lose their health insurance because they would not be able to pay. This is another attack on poor people, and it is not true that we have free healthcare. Apart from paying 15 percent of our gross salaries, we have to pay separately for dentists, orthopaedists, and orthopaedic aids, and there are plenty of medications that are not on the lists. Twenty years ago, we did not have to pay it ourselves,” said Drlje.

He added that the money needed for healthcare could be provided by better management of resources in the public health system. He emphasised that all individuals who run health care institutions should be held accountable with their own property for bad decisions, while, on the other hand, they should be rewarded for good moves.

“When they introduced the supplementary healthcare insurance, we were told that all the problems would be solved. Now we can see that it did not happen. We propose to combine the entire public procurement in the healthcare sector, which can save us between 500 million to one billion kunas. In 2013 and 2014, we publicly suggested that an independent healthcare Prosecutor’s Office should be established, with professionals who would oversee all health facilities to prevent irregular actions,” said Drlje.

Asked to comment on statements that Croatia is spending the least on healthcare, he said that it was impossible to compare countries with different standards of living. “How can we compare ourselves with Germany or Slovenia? If we pay 800 euros for health, Slovenians pay about 1,600 euros, and that is because they have two times better living standards,” said Drlje.

He also pointed out the waiting times which have never been worse. “According to our data, people wait for an MR exam from 370 to 450 days, for a CT they wait for 13 months, and for a check-up after physical therapy for seven months. If they do not have money or connections, people must wait and suffer. We have an example of oncology patients waiting six months for an exam. When someone is sick, they need to receive medical care immediately. That is why we have a public healthcare system,
that is now collapsing. We sincerely ask the minister to serve the poor people and not tycoons,” concluded Drlje.


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