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New health funds from 2009

The Health Ministry published a forty page document detailing specific details of the healthcare financing reform.

The state health insurance fund OEP will be abolished, and new county-based funds will be established, in which private capital, insures and professional investors alike may own up to a 49% stake, while the majority ownership will be retained by the state. Although the funds will primarily have region-based jurisdictions, they will compete for clients throughout the country. Hungarian citizens will – individually - join the newly established health insurance companies via a simple, signed unilateral declaration.

Those who had not selected a fund for themselves will automatically be covered by the fund in their region. Once a year, however, clients may change their affiliations. Insurers may offer supplementary services, but a basic package of services with the same content and quality must be provided to all insured persons in return of the contributions stated by law. There will be no risk rating, and insurance firms cannot select among applicants, and reject the more risky ones. Contributions will not be paid directly to the health funds, they will be redistributed through a National Risk-Equalization Fund.

The new funds will also have to participate in financing the investment costs in the health sector. The new model is planned to be introduced from 1st January 2008, once the detailed legislative base is approved by Parliament during the second half of 2007. The international bid for the regions will begin next spring, and the new Funds may collect applicants from May or June 2009. The new Health Funds will start from 2009. In relation to the release of the details, government officials denied yesterday’s press reports that the ministry provided the private investors with guarantees of their profits. (Napi Gazdaság, Gazdasági Rádió, Magyar Hírlap)