Continuing lawsuits with shareholders of Union Health Insurance Company may come too expensive for Slovakia. The government wants to get this case on the European Court of Justice, as the state failed on arbitration in the case ban on profit and Slovakia has to pay € 22 million. The European Court of Justice may, however, levy a much higher fine. According to Martin Kluch of the law firm Hamala Kluch Víglaský, force the dispute further may involve that the state ultimately lose much more money. He considered the current verdict as a partial victory for Slovakia, as a shareholder of the Union, the Dutch company Achmea, demanded as compensation more than 100 million euros.
If Slovakia would not succeed at domestic and arbitration courts, the state would have to pay the provisions of shareholders of health insurance companies almost € 750 million. That would be a bill for a Fico´s first government Act, which banned the profits to the shareholders. Slovakia has lost only one arbitration with the owner of the Health Insurance Company Union - Achmea company till now. Slovakia has to pay as compensation € 22 million and € 3 million for court costs. Together with the payments for advisory services of lawyers, the amount rises to more than € 40 million. Achmea originally asked for more than € 60 million, but the arbitral court admitted to Achmea € 20 milion.
The owner of Union Health Insurance Company, Achmea company, declined comments of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and the Ministry of Finance that the judgment of the International Court of Arbitration is not legally binding. Achmea insists that the verdict is legally binding and enforceable and Slovakia cannot appeal against it. Spokesman of Dutch company Bert Rensen although informed that it is not certain that Slovakia may or may not appeal the decision, but after reviewing the decision, the company today confirmed that it is final and binding for Slovakia.
The decision of the arbitral tribunal in a dispute between shareholders of Union Health Insurance Company and the Slovakia in case of ban of profit of health insurance companies will not deter the Slovak government to introduce a Unitary Health Insurance System. As confirmed by Prime Minister Robert Fico, a decision contrary strengthened the intention to create a one health insurance company. International arbitral tribunal arbitrated that the state must pay to private company € 22 million as compensation, which should has arisen due to the so-called ban of profits for health insurance companies. Slovakia should also pay court costs and fees associated with the arbitration in total amount € 3 million.
Defeat of Slovakia in arbitration court may also affect the other lawsuits in Slovakia. The shareholders of Health Insurance Company Dôvera and extinct European Health Insurance Company also claim damages from Slovakia. Slovakia has lost the international arbitration over Achmea company - the shareholder of Health Insurance Company Union. The reason of defeat was the act of Fico's first government, which restrict to pay profits to shareholders of health insurance companies. According to arbitration, economic damage of Achmea caused by this Act was € 22 million.
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.
Union health insurance company has not yet agreed on the form of next year's contracts with the Association of Hospitals in Slovakia. Health insurance company has contracts with hospitals with different validation, until the end of this year or until March 2014. Union allegedly explained the details of its offer to representatives of the Association, who will express themselves next week. Small hospitals will thus continue in negotiations, hereby they are asking for remaining of the price for hospitalization in 2013 on the level of second half of 2012.
Hundreds of patients are already today making appointments for operations in 2015, but also in 2017. Waiting times depend on capacities of hospitals, but also on the financial possibilities of three health insurance companies. Ministry of Health for now does not have a plan how to solve the waiting lists, when the three insurance companies will be merged. According to the spokeswoman of the Ministry, these issues will be solved by the law, which will be subsequently prepared after implementing of unitary system.