Estonia: Patient insurance fund to be launched in 2018
The Ministry of Social Affairs is planning to launch a new patient insurance fund, daily Postimees reported on Friday. Participation will be mandatory for all providers of medical services, including dentists and private practices.
The head of the ministry's healthcare network, Heli Paluste, told the paper that the plan was to put the new patient insurance system into operation in 2018. Insurance will then become mandatory for all institutions licensed to provide medical services, including dentists and private practices. The funds for setting up the system will come from the state budget, she said.
Board member of the Estonian Insurance Association Andres Piirsalu estimated the cost of launching the system at around €2m.
The head of the Estonian Hospital Association, Urmas Sule, told the paper that he supported the idea of establishing a public fund, but that additional funding would have to be found for it.
Both Sule and the secretary general of the Estonian Medical Association, Katrin Rehemaa, believe the fund should not operate as part of the Health Insurance Fund.
“The Health Insurance Fund’s money is in short supply as it is, and secondly there could be a conflict of interest if one and the same agency funded treatment, evaluated the quality of treatment, and paid out compensation," Rehemaa said.
In her opinion, Estonia should base its approach on the Finnish no-fault liability patient insurance system. Similar systems are also in use in Latvia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, and the UK.
According to data available to Postimees, at present slightly more than 70% of Estonian doctors are covered by voluntary insurance. Most of them are members of the Estonian Doctors’ Association, where insurance is part of the membership fee.