The Estonian government is planning to create a supplementary system of partial prescription medication compensation for people who spend more than €100 on prescription medication annually. The system, which would be implemented automatically in 2018, is expected to cost €3 million.
According to the new system, supplementary compensation would be paid on prescription medication expenses exceeding €100. The Estonian Health Insurance Fund would reimburse 50 percent of every euro spent exceeding €100 and 90 percent of every euro spent exceeding €300 annually.
For instance, if an individual spends €110 on prescription medication, they would be reimbursed in the amount of €5; if they spend €250, they would be reimbursed €75; if they spend €400, they would be reimbursed €190.
"Access to medication affects a large part of society, and in an aging society, it is a growing concern," Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) said. "Our main goal is to reduce the medication costs of those people for whom these costs make up a large part of their overall expenses and who may not buy needed medication as a result."
According to the health minister, a total of 110,000 people in Estonia currently spend more than €100 annually on prescription medication despite current benefits. "A whopping 15,000 people spend more than €300 — and we are only talking about prescription medication expenses," he continued. "This means that pensioners whose medication expenses are highest spend a sum worth one month's salary on medication, and we want to change that in the future."
According to Ossinovski, as of next year, fewer than 100 people will pay more than €300 annually on prescription medication. He added that this reimbursement scheme will have an extraordinarily great social impact.
In order to implement the new system, the government decided to contribute an additional €3 million into the budget for benefits for medicinal products as well as synchronize the current prescription fees of €1.27 and €3.19 to €2.50 per prescription.
The government also approved Ossinovski's proposals to transfer tasks connected to the list of discount medication and medication tenders from the Ministry of Social Affairs to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund.
Editor: Aili Vahtla