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PM Fico defends ban on insurers making a profit

Prime Minister Robert Fico has defended his government’s move to ban health insurers from turning a profit.

Prime Minister Robert Fico has defended his government’s move to ban health insurers from turning a profit.

He told the SITA news agency that his government would not object to insurers' making a profit on the condition that it is from commercial products, for example supplementary health insurance.

"If a health insurer offers a product for a patient in the form of extra insurance and will earn a profit on it, they are welcome to do so," he said.

However, Fico also said they would prevent such practices as when a health insurer takes ten percent of the collected compulsory health insurance premiums and counts it as profit. "This is something entirely unacceptable for us," he said. He stressed that health insurance companies also had a 3.5-percent administrative fund from the compulsory contributions, on which they can live.

The Slovak Republic will face international arbitration over the law it passed last year that bans private health insurers from keeping their profits, a measure pushed though by the Fico government.

In mid-July, the six-month deadline for an amicable settlement of the dispute between the Slovak Republic and the Dutch shareholder of the health insurance company Dôvera, Health Insurance Companies of Eastern Europe (HICEE), expired.

The HICEE sent a pre-arbitration notice to the Slovak Cabinet Office and the Ministries of Health, Finance and Foreign Affairs, demanding Sk15 billion (€497.91 million) in an amicable settlement, a step necessary for any party to make before proceeding to arbitration.

Fico called the insurer's demands a brazen act of disrespect. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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