Health insurance system needs a cure

Slovakia’s health insurance system has experienced unhealthy development.

(Source: Sme)

TOO LITTLE health for too much money. This is a characteristic of the public health insurance system in Slovakia as described by Martin Filko, the director and senior analyst of the Institute of Financial Policy (IFP) a governmental think tank. Filko assessed the system at a conference on health care management by the Trend weekly. According to him, the system, set up 10 years ago, has undergone unhealthy development and in terms of the amount of funds flowing into health care, patients get back little and there is a relatively high rate of market concentration, the SITA newswire reported on October 15.

Filko also pointed to a relative weak scope of regulation when Slovakia, as one of few countries of the European Union, does not use the system of DRG (diagnosis-related group), “which is doing a completely basic thing – defining the product”.

“It is a bit as if we had an electricity market but we do not have kilowatt hours,” said Filko.

Another shortcoming is the weak activity of institutions.

“Institutions have not been doing the things they should do,” said Filko.

The IFP head describes the current health insurance system as expensive, too bureaucratic and enabling unfair practices. He sees as a solution to turn it either into a proper competitive market or a market with one health insurer.

“Both are legitimate options,” said Filko. “We should select one of these possibilities; the current system is not good.”

Svätopluk Hlavačka from the Institute of Social Medicine and Medical Ethics opines that it does not matter what system of health insurance would be in Slovakia but it is the cultural environment which decides. He also pointed to the high transition demands when changing the system.

“As soon as we start talking about a change in the model [of the health insurance system] then we have to talk also about the price of such a transition,” said Hlavačka.

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