The head of the National Council of the Slovak Republic Pavol Paška (Smer) despite the negative judgment believes that SMER acted correctly in the case of banning the profit of health insurance companies and the same decision he would support today also. According to him, the government will do everything necessary so as to Slovakia would not have to pay compensation in amount € 25 million to shareholders of Union health insurance company due to decision of the International Arbitration Tribunal. As Paška justified, the ban lasted about three years and saved at least 200, maybe 250 million to Slovak health care, so money have not been chosen by shareholders, but stayed in the healthcare.
Slovakia lost the international arbitration over shareholder of Union health insurance company - Achmea. Due to ban of profit, which was adopted by Smer during its first government, Slovakia must to pay € 22 million to Dutch company Achmea. Achmea, however, would probably did not pay any profit, because it reported only combined losses until last year. Last year, for the first time reported a profit of nine million euros. Robert Fico qualified the decision as not legally binding and added that no one will pay anything. Minister of Finance Peter Kažimír said that the decision is unenforceable.
Dutch company Achmea that owns Union health insurance company won a lawsuit with the Slovakia. The verdict was announced by an international arbitral tribunal on Friday. It is not clear whether Slovakia will be able to appeal. Slovakia according to verdict, in 2006 and 2007 violated an investment agreement with the Netherlands. The first government of Robert Fico (Smer) banned private insurance companies to pay a profit. Constitutional Court decided that this step was unconstitutional already last year. State must pay € 22 million for compensation for the damages and € 3 million as court costs. Owners of the Union originally asked for € 64.7 million.
Changes in pricing of pharmaceuticals were confirmed by 76 Members of Parliament yesterday. According to amendment to Act on pharmaceuticals, the price in Slovakia should be not higher than the average of the three lowest prices in the European Union. This principle is also related to medical devices and dietary supplements. Members of Parliament also approved the proposal of chairman of Health Committee Richard Raši (Smer-SD). He proposed that pharmacists could give discounts on surcharge to patients. As finally results from the amendment, the discount can be up to half of the surcharge.
The Doctors of Hospital in Žilina who rebelled against the new employment contracts and refuse to serve the emergency services have the highest average salary in all government hospitals. While certified doctor of University Hospital in Bratislava earns monthly € 2.259 gross, the doctors in Žilina receives on average € 2.841. Above standard wages are paid through the duplicated reimbursement of emergency services. If doctors have during one month three services, they receive a reward of 50 per cent of basic salary together with the price stated in internal decree. President of the Medical Trade Union in Žilina Peter Blasko, sees no problem in cancelling this allowance.
From the beginning of next year the state will stop paying contribution for some of its policyholders like working pensioners, students, and women receiving the parental allowance, whom an annual assessment base 15 times exceeds the subsistence minimum, which is for next year 2 918.7 euro. State will be no longer paying health insurance contributions for those policyholders, who are working and their monthly assessment base of their employment will be higher than € 243.2. This stems from an amendment to the Health Insurance Act, which was on November 29, 2012 approved by parliament. Currently, the state pays health insurance for its policyholders even if these people have earned some income. This leads to parallel payments of health insurance contributions by working state policyholder and also by state.
From the next year will be paid higher healthcare payment from dividends. The rate will be increased from current 10% to 14% of the tax base. This results from the amendment to the act on health insurance, which was approved by members of Parliament. Proposal of the act should react to the need of fiscal consolidation and total reducing of the deficit of public finances. How much money will this measure bring, according to the Ministry of Health, not possible to quantify in advance.
Ministry of Health will have € 350 000 more available for the computerization of healthcare system. Government on Wednesday approved the requirement of the Ministry for re-allocation of capital expenditures from previous year. Money originally intended for rationalization and restructuring of healthcare institutions in scope of Ministry and their subsequent transformation into the joint-stock companies, will be now used for supporting projects of e-health. Specifically it will be an ensuring of protection of personal data and database.
Debts of healthcare institutions on insurance premium continue to rise. By the end of October they owed Social Insurance Company an amount of € 52.1 million. Compared to September, there was an increase by more than € 4 million, at the end of last year the debts of hospitals or other institutions were lower by almost € 33.3 million. This results from the information, which was originally supposed to be a part of negotiation of the Government. For technical reasons, however, Government should deal with it at one of the next sessions.
New system of financing of hospitals will not be ready sooner than in 2016. This was admitted by the head of Healthcare Surveillance Authority, Monika Pažinková. The pilot phase of so called DRG – collection of data in hospitals – should have been launched already at the beginning of next year. Live operation was scheduled for 2014. Implementation of DRG will not take place in this time. According to Pažinková, office will, however, do everything possible to start with collecting of data at the end of next year and continue in 2014 and 2015.