Slovak private equity group Penta Investments is taking Slovakia to arbitration over the Fico government’s decision to ban private health insurers from earning a profit.
Under a amendment last year to the Health Insurance Act, private health insurers are not allowed to pay dividends to shareholders, but instead must return any profit they make to the health care system. The government introduced the measure after PM Robert Fico accused private insurers of profiting from compulsory health insurance dues from employers and citizens, and of imperiling the country’s Constitutional right to free health care.
Penta (co-owner Jaroslav Haščák above) owns stakes in the Dovera and Apollo health insurers through the Holland-based Health Insurance Companies of Eastern Europe. It has not said how much it will be seeking in compensation for the profit ban, but in a previous submission to the government seeking an amicable settlement, it demanded Sk15 billion.