Drug co-payment to end for certain groups

Select groups will enjoy an exemption from surcharges at the cost of €37.5 million a year.

Pharmacy, illustrative stock photoPharmacy, illustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

People falling into certain categories will be eligible for exemptions for drug co-payments.

These people will include those with severe disabilities, children up to six years of age, and pensioners. Income will be taken into account with a co-payment for the cheapest available and interchangeable medical product.

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The new law was supported by 118 MPs on February 5. The zero co-payment will apply for children as of April 2021 and for the pensioners and people with disabilities as of January 2022.

According to the Health Ministry, the amendment will secure access to medical assistance for the most economically vulnerable. It is estimated to cost €37.5 million, from 2021 to 2023 annually.

Effects on households

Within the current framework of the law, we can expect an increase in domestic income of €24.20 per person from the returned co-payment on drugs in 2020. The gross positive influence of the amendment on the average family budget will be €37.32 a month.

The amendment is supposed to lower the living costs for millions of people annually.

The ministry admitted that the new amendment will not help struggling families with cash-flow as the co-payment for medical support will only be returned in the financial quarter, after the one in which they were charged.

Who is affected

A drug co-payment will no longer be applicable for children up to the age of six as of April 2021.

A zero-participation limit will be directly applied to them upon the prescription of drugs, medical aids and dietetic food. This means that the cost of drugs, medical aids and dietetic food will be partially subsidised by public health insurance at the calculated surcharge for the cheapest possible variant.

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Retirees and the severely disabled will be able to take advantage of this zero-limit starting January 1, 2022.

The new amendment states that the zero participation limit will not apply to economically active persons whose income exceeds a certain amount. The three-month sum of their wage and pensions must not exceed 1.8 times the average wage in Slovakia, which is €1,966. This means that persons eligible are those with an approximate monthly income of €655.

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