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Parliament began discussing changes to the Health Insurance Act, which provide for a fine of 2 000 to 4 000 leva for an employer who fails to pay his employees health insurance
November 13, 2009

The National Assembly started, at the sitting on November 13, 2009, the first reading of amendments to the Health Insurance Act. They intend a fine of BGN 2 000 to 4 000 to be imposed to employers who fail to pay the health insurance contributions for their employees. The proposed changes were moved by the chairman of the Health Committee, Dr. Lachezar Ivanov. Sole proprietors and legal entities in violation will pay a penalty between BGN 4 000 and 8 000.

The amendments foresee that the current National Framework Agreement be replaced by National Framework Conditions. The Framework Conditions represent administrative regulations that have action throughout the country for a specified period of time and are mandatory for health insurance. Within 30 days of entry into force of the National Framework Conditions, medical institutions have to submit applications and sign agreements with the corresponding Regional Health Insurance Funds.

A Supervisory Board, consisting of eight members and a Director will be managing the NHIF. The Supervisory Board will include one representative of patient and one of medical organizations, two - of employers' organizations and four representatives of the state. The director of the Health Insurance Fund will be elected by the National Assembly for a term of five years.

The amendments propose the establishment of an Advisory Board to the Minister of Finance, which will review and give opinions on the volumes, prices and methods of valuation and payment of the medical care developed by the Executive Agency for Economic Analysis and Forecasting at the Ministry of Finance. Hospitals will be required to provide, at conspicuous places in their buildings, information to patients regarding the services guaranteed by the NHIF budget, the price paid by the NHIF, the free medical services and the list of diseases for which insured patients will be exempted from any payment.

The parliament considered also the bill for amendments to the Health Insurance Act proposed by lawmakers Vanyo Sharkov and Martin Dimitrov of the Blue coalition. They offer size of the contribution to the health insurance fund provided by the state be made equal with that of citizens. It also proposes the health insurance of children up to 18 years old to be covered by the state budget at the amount of 8 percent of the minimum contributory income set in the country for self-insured persons, not on the half of it as it is currently. The movers consider that such a change would ensure better financing of the Bulgarian health care system.
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