BUSINESS IN SHORT

One-health-insurer plans announced

THE HEALTH Ministry wants to realise the government’s plan to overhaul the health insurance system so that only one health insurer – the state-run one – will operate on the market, as of January 2014, the TASR newswire reported.

THE HEALTH Ministry wants to realise the government’s plan to overhaul the health insurance system so that only one health insurer – the state-run one – will operate on the market, as of January 2014, the TASR newswire reported.

While Health Minister Zuzana Zvolenská prefers to make an agreement with the private insurers to buy out their shares, she also admitted that expropriation could be the way to achieve the one-health-insurer goal, she said on September 26 as reported by TASR.

“We are focusing on agreements until January 1, 2014,” she said, as quoted by TASR. “In the event that an agreement won’t be reached by then, we would subsequently launch steps towards expropriation and we reckon that by mid 2014 at the latest we will have the unitary system working, one way or another.”

The most important task of the ministry now is the selection of an external advisor with an international reputation that would set the price of shares [in private insurance companies] agreeable for all parties concerned.

“Everyone is asking us how much it will cost,” the minister said as quoted by TASR. “I don’t know that at the moment, as I’m not an expert. My task is finding somebody whom we will all trust that this is the right way to do it, thus it must be somebody with international experience and international credit.”

The health department plans to select the advisor in a public procurement process by April 2013 at the latest.

The whole process of transformation of the health insurance system will require a new law.
A Company for Introduction of a Unitary System of Public Health Insurance will also have to be established in order to prevent the state-run Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa health insurer from establishing relations with third parties. The company is supposed to secure the expert activities concerning the legal and economic assessment of the state of private health insurance, and it should be established by the end of November 2012, TASR wrote.

The company should be 100-percent owned by the state, with the shareholder being the Health Ministry, although some of its steps are conditional on approval by the Finance Ministry.

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