During the first six months of 2018, a total of €1.9 million in supplementary drug benefits has been paid out to nearly 50,000 people.
In previous years, up to 3,000 people per year took advantage of the benefit, although nearly 9,000 qualified for it.
Following changes to the system, however, people begin receiving discounts on their prescription drugs once they reach a minimum of €100 in expenses per year, down from the previous annual minimum of €300. The benefit is likewise now calculated automatically at the pharmacy for all qualifying individuals, eliminating the need to apply later for refunds.
The goal of the updated system is to improve access to prescription drugs for individuals with greater need for them and the associated higher expenses by significantly increasing the level of compensation for prescription drug costs.
According to data from the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, the most compensation has been paid out for high blood pressure, heart rhythm disorder and diabetes medications.
Under the new system, prescription drug costs between €100-300 are compensated at a rate of 50%, while any drug costs exceeding the €300 mark per year are compensated at a rate of 90%. The drug benefit is calculated automatically at the pharmacy register, making the system convenient for patients.
A total of €3 million has been earmarked for the payment of supplementary drug benefits this year.
Editor: Aili Vahtla