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Government approves amendment to Act on Social Insurers

Health insurance companies in Slovakia will have to channel their future profits back into the system and use them solely to cover the costs of provided healthcare rather than for their own purposes, according to a proposed amendment to the Act on Social Insurers, which the Government approved at its session on August 8.

"One of the necessary measures to be introduced is aimed at preventing public money from becoming a tool used for generating profits and subsequent profit-sharing in the private sector. A health insurance company needs to be viewed as an institution that cannot be established for business purposes," reads a Health Ministry document accompanying the proposal.

The ministry estimates that this measure will bring in almost Sk1.9 billion (€57 million) in additional funds for health care.

Health Minister Ivan Valentovič, speaking to journalists after the Cabinet session, said that he isn't afraid that health insurers will take the case to international courts.

Private health insurance companies unanimously disapprove of the health minister's proposal. They argue that the proposal is aimed at squeezing them out of the market, so that a single state-owned health insurance company can be installed.

According to them, the planned changes will have a negative effect on policy holders as well as on health care providers and insurance-payers (either ordinary people themselves or their employers). The private insurers also claim that both the quality and the extent of provided health care will be reduced.

In addition, the companies say that a ban on profit-making would go against the law and the Constitution, as it would violate the essential principles of business and be highly de-motivating.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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