The Estonian Medical Association (EAL) has sent a petition to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) asking the state to increase the expenditures of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa) by €4.2 million next year and give up a plan to have the Haigekassa budget run a surplus of €4.2 million.
"On the basis of the opinions of experts and the supervisory board of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, we propose to increase the expenditures of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund in the bill on the 2019 state budget by €4.2 million in order for it to be possible for the Estonian Health Insurance Fund to endorse a balanced budget and cut down on patient wait times," the EAL wrote.
The association pointed out that the state budget bill saddles Haigekassa with the obligation to draw up a budget with a total net gain of €4.2 million for 2019.
"In a situation where the Estonian Health Insurance Fund is unable to finance the estimated need for medical services in full, the channelling of the resources of medical insurance into reserves is detrimental to patients," the petition read.
According to the EAL, the government coalition's decision to increase healthcare financing beginning this year was "definitely the right decision," which prevented a rapid decrease in the availability of medical services.
"Meanwhile, availability is not improving at the desired pace, as in accordance with the State Budget Act, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund cannot use the total amount of medical insurance proceeds for the treatment of patients," the association wrote. "Outlays for the additional duties transferred to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund from the state budget have turned out to be bigger than expected, as their size was calculated based on 2016 costs. This will have a negative effect primarily on the financing of specialist medical care."
The association also cited the stance of an advisory panel advising Haigekassa on strategic matters, which has recommended endorsing Haigekassa's budgetary position for the next four years as moderately negative and to cover the negative net result with undistributed net gains from previous periods.
Haigekassa's 2018 budget is approximately €1.28 billion in size.
Editor: Aili Vahtla