Slovaks like spas

SPA treatment holds an important place within Slovakia’s health-care system. In addition to helping patients recover from illnesses, accidents or surgeries or to lessen suffering from chronic diseases, stays in spas help prevent diseases and rid people of stress. Annually, thousands of Slovaks go to a spa to receive treatments covered either by their health insurance company or from their own pocket. The optimal length of the stay depends on the patient’s condition but in general a stay no shorter than three weeks is recommended by doctors so that the treatment brings visible and longer-lasting results.

SPA treatment holds an important place within Slovakia’s health-care system. In addition to helping patients recover from illnesses, accidents or surgeries or to lessen suffering from chronic diseases, stays in spas help prevent diseases and rid people of stress. Annually, thousands of Slovaks go to a spa to receive treatments covered either by their health insurance company or from their own pocket. The optimal length of the stay depends on the patient’s condition but in general a stay no shorter than three weeks is recommended by doctors so that the treatment brings visible and longer-lasting results.

Patients from Slovakia are entitled to fully or partially-covered spa treatments paid from their compulsory health insurance. A Slovak can usually apply for spa treatment once per year but this depends on the medical diagnosis. The amount of financial coverage by the health insurer is divided into two categories, A and B, based on the diagnosis. For A category patients, health insurance covers all the costs of going to a spa such as the actual treatments, boarding and accommodation and the patient pays only a daily fee set by law at €1.66 and the first and the last day are counted as one day. For those in the B category, the health insurer covers only the treatments in the spa. Standard accommodation starts at €7.30 per day during the high season and at €4.98 during the rest of the year, according to the Pravda daily, but the newspaper reported that charges are mostly higher.

Over 50,300 Slovak patients received treatment fully or partly covered by health insurance in 2009 and health insurers paid €36 million of those costs according to information reported by the SITA newswire and Pravda. The number of people going to spas is increasing and there is no indication that this trend will change.

Slovakia’s biggest health insurer, Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa (VšZP), had the largest number of policyholders, 36,340, going for treatments at spas, an annual increase of almost 13 percent, and costing the insurer €25.66 million, SITA wrote. Private health insurer Dôvera, which merged with Apollo last year, covered spa treatments for a total of 12,082 patients and the two insurers paid €8.9 million, according to SITA. Union health insurer had 1,905 policyholders who received spa treatments fully or partly covered from their health insurance, an annual increase of 11.5 percent, costing €1.43 million, SITA wrote.


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