Private insurers not ready for mandatory health insurance phase-in

Private insurers are currently unable to adapt to a mandatory health insurance system, and they won't be able to for at least for a couple years, said Jānis Abāšins, president of the Latvian Insurers' Association in a Monday interview with Latvian Television.

He estimated that at the moment between €50m and €70m flow from private insurance companies into the healthcare budget each year. The insurers might not be prepared if the sum becomes €500m-700m. 

However, Abāšins said that an insurance system could be rolled out soon if it would mean transferring 2% from social taxes to the health budget.

Earlier Health Minister Guntis Belēvičs (Greens) said the mandatory health insurance system cannot be fully funded from the state's social budget.

He proposed two ways of solving the problem: to increase funding from the social budget by €100m-120m every year, or to introduce a new monthly payment to be made by employees and employers. 

Belēvičs put faith in the upcoming revision of the Latvian tax system by the new government, saying he believes healthcare will become a "true priority" under the government of his fellow party member Māris Kučinskis. 

He said the new insurance system has not yet been outlined, as the working group established for the purpose had not come to meetings during the time the Latvian government was functioning only technically.

In October 2015 former Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma called for introducing mandatory health insurance by 2017.

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