SLOVAKIA: Slovakia wants to nationalise private health insurers

13 August 2012 —
Slovakia's prime minister Robert Fico plans to reduce national healthcare to a single state-owned insurer by 2014, and this would mean the nationalisation of two private health insurers or buying them.

The government wants to introduce a system of one health insurer instead of several health insurers. Fico says, ""Privately-owned health insurers should leave the Slovak market. Slovakia's health care system has been suffering from a lack of funding, while private insurers turn a profit based on public money."

The current health care system in Slovakia is a form of private-public partnership, where all Slovaks pay a healthcare tax of 14%, and can choose cover provided by one of the three providers, who provide cost-free treatment.

The two private health insurers, Union, owned by Dutch insurer Achmea, and Dovera, controlled by Slovak-Czech private equity group Penta Investments, provide cover for 1.8 million of a total 5.4 million Slovakians. The state owned General Health Insurance Company, better known as VsZP, provides cover for the remaining 3.6 million.

The insurers then pay doctors and hospitals, but there is no difference between the quality of health care for state-insured and private-insured clients.

As a local company, Penta has to be very careful what they say and so has said it will listen to government plans.

But Achmea has said it will use all official and legal channels to protect the business interests of Union, and is not interested in selling Union or its portfolio to the state. If it invokes EU law on protectionism it could take many years for any legal battle to be concluded, and as a large EU health insurer Achmea has the financial and political muscle to thwart tiny Slovakia.

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SLOVAKIA: Slovakia wants to nationalise private health insurers
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