Czech Republic considers introducing supplemental health insurance

The Czech health minister wants to boost the coffers of the country's healthcare sector by introducing a system of above-standard coverage.


Written by ČTK Published on 21.11.2022 10:03:00 (updated on 21.11.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

In a Sunday interview with Czech Television, Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said he wants to introduce supplemental health insurance to the Czech Republic.

Válek argued that more financial resources should reach the healthcare system pointing out that in some Western European countries, financing comes from several sources.

Supplemental insurance is additional coverage that helps pay for medical services and healthcare costs not covered by the Czech healthcare system. The health minister said that such a system would need to be introduced over time.

"The implementation would have to be gradual and there must be total freedom. There shouldn't be any worsening of the care," Válek said.

Two weeks ago at a conference, Válek spoke about the introduction of above-standard care in the healthcare sector, only to backpedal a day later and say that no concrete proposal was being considered.

"Now we have two options. Either raising taxes systematically and allocating the money to the healthcare system or enabling those who are interested in taking better care of themselves to take part in the preventive programs and use screening in the form of a bonus and, at the same time, in the form of supplemental health insurance," Válek said.

The health minister pointed to countries such as Switzerland and Germany where this system has been successful. Transitioning the Czech Republic to a similar system is underway, Válek said, adding that a discussion of some aspects of supplemental health insurance could start already from next year.

Among those showing support for the supplemental health insurance system in Czechia include Director of VZP General Health Insurance Company Zdeněk Kabátek who estimates that such a system could bring a 1.5- to 2-percent increase in resources for the Czech healthcare system.

Coalition partners of Válek's TOP 09 party have so far taken a reserved stance on the issue; the opposition ANO movement and healthcare unions rejected the idea.

President of the Czech Medical Chamber, Milan Kubek, said he did not believe that supplemental health insurance could be introduced into the healthcare sector.

"The bottom line is to realize that the current standard is very broad, so there's nothing to insure against," he said. According to Kubek, additional insurance would only make sense if the standard were lowered, which Válek ruled out.

A supplemental health insurance system could work from 2025 or 2026, Válek said.

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