The supervisory board of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF) on Friday agreed in principle on the fund's 2018 budget and determined the areas of spending to which to apply an additional €34 million granted to the fund to finance healthcare expenses.
EHIF CEO Rain Laane told reporters that the fund's budget for next year is expected to be adopted at the next meeting of the supervisory board in January.
Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) said that next year's budget will allow for the financing by the fund of 140,000 more treatment cases than this year, including 7,000 more surgeries.
In oncology, EHIF will begin paying for new drugs in the treatment of kidney, breast and prostate tumors, and will increase the number of cancer treatment-related doctor's office by 5,400. Starting next year, altogether 20 new drugs will appear on the list of drugs financed by the fund, for which approximately €3 million has been earmarked.
Pediatrics and child surgery are to receive an additional €5.5 million, which will cover the costs of 6,500 more treatment cases.
Next year's budget will also finance up to 3,600 knee and hip joint replacement surgeries, an increase of 600; waiting lists for such surgeries are expected to decrease by up to ten months. The fund will also finance an additional 5,000 cataract surgeries, up from the current total of 13,000 such surgeries per year.
The dental care reimbursement for adults will increase from the current €30 to €40 per year, and a reimbursement of €85 per year will be introduced for those sufering from specific illnesses and conditions which make dental care access a must, such as diabetes and the autoimmune disease Sjögren's syndrome.
Prescription drug expenses are expected to decrease substantially for approximately 125,000 people in 2018, as an additional subsidy will paid toward the cost of medical products distributed at a discount for those whose annual costs exceed €100. For instance, a working-age person with Type 2 diabetes ho may have had to pay as much as €467 out of pocket for prescription drugs will receive the same drugs at a cost of €236 in 2018.
Editor: Aili Vahtla