Launch of new healthcare financing system postponed until July 1

Saeima on January 17 passed in the final reading a bill to postpone, until July 1, the launch of a new healthcare financing system that would separate healthcare services into two baskets of services accessible depending on one's social tax contributions.

The draft legislation, which was proposed by the Saeima Social and Labor Affairs Committee, was sent to parliamentary committees for review and also passed in the first and second reading on Thursday.

Under the bill the existing accessibility of healthcare services will remain in place in the first half of 2019.

Authors of the bill argued that the new system was not ready by January 1, 2019, as health care institutions could not access the necessary databases to make sure their patients were insured and entitled to government-funded healthcare services. The health care institutions therefore continue to provide government-funded services to all patients without dividing the services into two baskets according to the new legislation.

As reported, due to IT problems the National Health Service was unable to run the system of healthcare services which helps to determine the healthcare insurance status of patients.

The National Health Service decided earlier that if any technical problems occur due to which a person's insurance status is impossible to determine, the cost of any kind of healthcare services received by that person will be covered by the state, regardless of whether the person is or is not insured.

The Health Ministry promised that the system problems will be solved by February.

LETA also reported, as of 2019 patients who want to receive the full basket of government-funded healthcare services need mandatory health insurance policies.

Starting this year, all healthcare services paid for by the state would be available only to insured residents. These services will be available automatically to all employees who have been making social contributions for at least nine months, as well as residents who are included in any of the 21 social protection systems - pensioners, schoolchildren, students, and others.

In the meantime, all residents - including those who make no social contributions - will have access to the basic set of healthcare services paid for by the state: emergency medical service, visits to family physician, and state-covered medications for persons with mental problems, dependencies, diabetes, and infectious diseases such as HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis and others. Cancer treatment and cardiovascular diagnostics are also included in the basic set of healthcare services paid for by the state.

Residents who do not have state health insurance are required to make a payment of €206.40 to have access to all healthcare services paid for by the state as of January 1 this year.

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