Lack of ideas to reduce the uninsured

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The Minister of Health Desislava Atanasova announced that she is waiting for proposals for solving the problem with the huge number of uninsured Bulgarians. She explained that she would ask for specific proposals from the management of the health insurance fund and the revenue agency, as well as from the professional and patient organizations that are related to these revenues.

According to the latest data, about 1.5 million Bulgarians are without health insurance, but the state has no mechanisms to deal with the problem. According to the Association of General Practitioners, the fact that these citizens do not insure themselves for health, the system loses about 500 million levs a year.

Investor.bg sought all points of view on the topic.

After the idea of ​​confiscating identity documents or driver’s licenses in case of unpaid health contributions circulated in the media, the Minister of Health denied such a possibility. Desislava Atanasova said the idea was untenable because personal documents were required and the health ministry had no authority over them.

However, Atanasova revealed that an option is being discussed in which the payment of health insurance has the burden of the tax. The minister at this stage declined to comment on other options being discussed, urging everyone to share their views in order to find a solution.

Over the years, various options have been offered to solve the problem, but so far none of them has been effective, the minister recalled. She said that there are two main groups of people who do not pay contributions and the measures should be different for different groups. On the one hand, there are those who live abroad and pay contributions there, and on the other hand, there are those who have lost confidence in the system and see no incentive to burden themselves with contributions.

Atanasova also hinted at a decision not only for sanctions against violators but also to introduce incentives for conscientious citizens who regularly pay their health insurance. According to her, in the year before the elections, it is necessary to discuss this topic not only at the expert level but also through a broad public discussion.

The manager of the National Health Insurance Fund, Plamen Tsekov, believes that when light measures do not help, harder options should be sought, but on the condition that human rights are not restricted.

The new fund manager confirmed to Investor.bg that he will support all measures that Minister Atanasova intends to take if they do not contradict other laws. Tsekov added that over the years the legislator has tried all sorts of ways to force people to pay their social security contributions – with softer options, with notices, with round tables, but in the end, there are always people who do not pay them.

The chairman of the National Patients’ Association Plamen Taushanov is of the opinion that a separate approach cannot be commented on. He said that within two months a national program will be prepared after a wide public discussion on how to significantly reduce the number of uninsured people through various mechanisms. According to Taushanov, the levels of the uninsured in European countries should be reached within five years.

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