CZECH REPUBLIC: Health insurer VZP wants balanced budget by year-end

14 May 2013 —
The management of the Czech General Health Insurance Company (VZP) wants to achieve a balanced budget by the end of the year, VZP director Zdenek Kabatek told Czech Television (CT) Sunday.

Kabatek said it was possible to eliminate the expected deficit of 2.6 billion crowns and to return to "the blacks," even without an increase in the payment of insurance from the state for children, pensioners and the jobless.

"We would like the deficit, which in the current conditions may reach 2.6 billion crowns at the end of 2013, to be pushed down close to zero," Kabatek said.

Kabatek pledged to stabilise financially VZP when he was appointed to the post last December.

At that time, deputy health minister and head of the VZP board Petr Nosek said due to the unfavourable economic development in the country, VZP might only have a balanced budget by the end of 2014.

In 2006, VZP scored a surplus of 170 million, in 2007 as many as 19.5 billion and one year later 5.7 billion. However, due to the recession, VZP, major national insurance company, then fell into the reds.

In 2009, the deficit rose to 5.5 billion, in 2010 it was some 5.4 billion, in 2011 3.8 billion and last year 4.3 billion, CT said, referring to the data from the Finance Ministry.

Kabatek said VZP had taken some steps to improve the situation.

He said VZP was paying more for the same care than other health insurance companies, which could not continue.

He said VZP would like to save some half a billion crowns by cutting the costs of drugs and health equipment through better prices negotiated with suppliers.

Kabatek said VZP was now paying in time to doctors and hospitals.

Health Minister Leos Heger (TOP 09) will ask the government to pay higher health insurance for children, pensioners and the jobless. Instead of 723 crowns per head, the sum should rise to 773 or 800 crowns.

Heger proposed the increase in the payment in the past, but his effort was rejected by the government.

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