VZP monopoly on foreigners' insurance to remain in place for now

The state health insurance company's five-year monopoly over foreigner's commercial insurance was approved by the lower house of parliament last year.


Written by ČTK Published on 19.12.2022 10:30:00 (updated on 19.12.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

A ruling that requires foreigners in the Czech Republic to hold commercial insurance with Pojišťovna VZP will not be lifted this year. The Senate's proposal to lift the insurer's monopoly was blocked by the senior opposition ANO party, which had pushed the through the amendment in the previous election term.

ANO blocked the final reading of the relevant draft amendment in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, at the last plenary session of 2022.

Before the third reading of the draft could start, ANO deputies' group chair Alena Schillerová said the proposals had sparked a major debate over whether they are at odds with European Union law.

Schillerová said the draft amendment "deserves an expert debate" which is being prepared by ANO MP Miloslav Janulík, who introduced the VZP monopoly. The lower house approved Schillerova's proposal that the session be interrupted and the rest of the Friday agenda canceled.

The five-year monopoly of the subsidiary of the VZP public health insurance company on the commercial insurance of foreigners was approved by the Chamber of Deputies last year, despite opposition from the Senate, the upper house of parliament, as well as the ministries of interior and health, the Czech Insurers' Association, and the Chamber of Commerce.

According to the law, commercial health insurance can be offered by subsidiaries of all health insurers after five years of the monopoly being in force.

Proponents of the monopoly argued that it was necessary in order for doctors to avoid treating foreigners who arrive to work in Czechia without coverage and can't pay for services.

The Senate said the monopoly is at variance with European law with senators wanting a larger number of insurers to be entitled to offer health insurance to foreigners.

The Senate proposal has the support of the current cabinet. The draft amendment envisages the launch of a foreigners' health insurance register which would be accessible by health facilities and also by the police if needed. The amendment would enable foreigners to withdraw from their contract with Pojišťovna VZP and choose another insurer.

It also doubles the insurance premium lower limit to EUR 120,000, which the authors of the amendment say reflect the fact that the limit has not been changed for ten years now.

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