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Parliament approves healthcare reform

Parliament passed a healthcare law amendment on Monday introducing patient co-payments when visiting a doctor or when hospitalized.

Parliament passed the law in a vote of 201 in favor and 160 opposed, setting the basic co-payment at Ft 300 per visit (about €1.16) starting on February 15, 2007. Up until now, patients were not required to pay anything when calling on a doctor within the national health insurance scheme. The co-payments are expected to yield about Ft 30 billion a year, which the providers will retain and use to upgrade their facilities. Children under the age of 18 are exempted from the co-payment.
Co-payments are not required for emergency care, screenings, or for pregnancy checkups and maternity care. Poor residents are not exempted per se, but the funds needed for co-payments will be built into other forms of assistance.