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Slovakia wins another dispute with Dôvera health insurer

SLOVAKIA has won a lawsuit with commercial health insurance company Dôvera, according to a recent ruling of the European Commission, the Trend weekly website reported on December 8.

SLOVAKIA has won a lawsuit with commercial health insurance company Dôvera, according to a recent ruling of the European Commission, the Trend weekly website reported on December 8.

In the dispute, which was launched back in 2007, Dôvera demanded that alleged state assistance granted by previous governments to state-owned health insurance companies, worth an overall volume of €153.4 million, should be investigated. The commercial health insurer also urged for an investigation into the topping up of the capital stock of Spoločná Zdravotná Poisťovňa (SPZ) in 2006, which ended in 2009, along with funding of Všeobecná zdravotná poisťovňa (VšZP) worth €65.1 million by the first government of Prime Minister Robert Fico as of January 2010, according to the TASR newswire.

Andrej Králik of the European Commission Representation Office in Slovakia told trend.sk that this was not at odds with the respective EU regulations on state assistance, as health insurance companies are not viewed as enterprises because they do not engage in economic activities described by EU regulations.

“Therefore, their activities are not subject to supervision of state assistance on the part of the European Union,” Králik said, as quoted by Trend.sk.

When dealing with the issue, the European Commission was understood to have factored in the introduction of restrictions on the generation of profits by health insurance companies and the limited scope within which the insurers can compete as concerns the quality of provided health care.

In addition, the European Commission also took into consideration the nature of Slovakia’s health insurance system, which is mainly based on the principle of solidarity. The Commission further told the website that the monitored activities of health insurers are not of an economic nature and the public funding of the companies in the health-care system cannot be viewed as state assistance, according to TASR.

Dôvera refused to comment on the ruling, as it does not have the complete wording of it. However, its spokesperson, Branislav Cehlárik, stated that Dôvera keeps its opinion that state repeatedly saved state-owned health insurance companies in recent 10 years which were managed ineffectively.

“The state by those and other similar non-systematic steps significantly violated principles of fair economic competition on the market for public health insurance,” Cehlárik said, as quoted by Trend’s website.

Source: trend.sk, TASR

Compiled by Roman Cuprik from press reports
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