The cabinet at its session on Wednesday, October 31, approved a plan for introducing a single health insurance system sponsored by the Health Ministry, the TASR newswire learned. According to the session documents, the plan covers two possible scenarios: the government either agreeing or disagreeing with the shareholders of the two private insurers, Dôvera and Union, over purchasing their shares.
If a consensus is reached - in the form of a purchase agreement or an agreement on the state management of private companies, a unitary health insurance system will be introduced as of January 2014. If no agreement is reached, in which case the government will have to resort to the nationalisation of the two private companies, the introduction of the system will be postponed until July 2014.
The ministry is more inclined towards the option of a purchase agreement, whereby the shares of the two private insurers would be transferred to the state. According to the document, in this case, the state would acquire supervision over lawsuits pressed against itself and would improve its position with respect to negotiations on settling all legal and arbitration disputes.
The process of transforming the health insurance system will also require the drafting of a new law, as well as the setting up of a special company to supervise the introduction of the new system. The company is slated to be established by December and will oversee specialist activities related to legal and economic assessments of the condition of the private health insurers. Its powers should also include setting the amount paid for the share transfer. This should be carried out via a consultant, to be selected by means of a public procurement by April 2013. The law, due to be drafted, is expected to stipulate the way in which the price is set, and the process involving the possible nationalisation of the private health insurers. If approved, the legislation will come into effect by May 2013.
"The principle for carrying out the plans to introduce a unitary health insurance system appears to be in compliance with the Constitution, [as the document] allows for excluding certain social relations and activities in the public interest from economic competition,” reads the plan. The threat of the state facing international investment arbitration will appear only if the state does not meet the standards and conditions for a legal nationalisation process.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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