Funding for the Estonian Health Insurance Fund is set to increase by €144 million next year as the state will continue investing money in cutting patient waiting times and developing primary healthcare.
In addition, disabled child allowances will grow and a special facility will open in eastern Estonia to help children who are victims of sexual abuse.
From January, the disabled child allowance will rise to €138 a month for children with moderate disability, to €161 for children with severe disability and to €241 for children with profound disability. There are around 13,000 disabled children in Estonia.
The third facility in Estonia to help children who are victims of sexual abuse or a suspicion exists that they have been sexually abused will open next year. At the special facility, a child protection worker, a psychologist, a doctor, a police officer and other specialists working with children will be working together. At similar facilities in Tallinn and Tartu, 245 children received help during 2018. The budget for 2020 sets aside €120,000 facility in eastern Estonia.
Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik said: " The availability and high quality of healthcare services is one of the important agreements of our society. Next year, the budget of the Health Insurance Fund will increase as a result of bigger tax receipts and the contribution made on behalf of pensioners by almost €144 million euros, which in addition to reducing doctor wait times allows us to continue developing primary healthcare,"
Kiik said the ministry is discussing different solutions to the challenges of primary healthcare with family doctors. The budget for next year allows the ministry to move forward with discussions on a review of the principles of financing, expanding the list of specialities eligible for e-consultation, and regional extras for family doctors.
The size of the budget for the Ministry of Social Affairs in 2020 is €5.88 billion , of which €2.7 billion euros will be spent on social protection and €1.68 billion on healthcare. The size of the budget for family policy is €774 million and the size of the budget of labor market almost €675 million.
The most important fields of medicine in terms of financing in 2020 are primary healthcare, services for children, oncology and hematology, and mental health.
In primary healthcare, the list of specialities where e-consultation can be used is to be expanded, principles of financing reviewed and a pilot of regional extras for family doctors carried out if possible.
Over 180 million euros has been earmarked for compensating the price of medicines, nearly 14 million euros more than this year. As a completely new service, the Health Insurance Fund will start paying remuneration to residents, for which some 20 million euros is estimated to be spent.
Estonia's healthcare spending is budgeted to total some 1.68 billion euros next year.
Editor: Helen Wright