STA, 9 October 2019 - The public health insurance fund ZZZS marked today the 130th anniversary of health insurance in Slovenia. The concept was formally introduced on 1 August 1889 with the launch of the first sickness fund involving compulsory health insurance in Ljubljana.
The local fund was modelled on Bismarck's social insurance for workers, while it was based on legislation issued in the Austro-Hungarian Empire on 6 April 1888.
The solidarity-based fund provided access to healthcare to all workers and their families. The right is enjoyed today by everybody in Slovenia and individual benefits have been expanded, but the basic features were already there in 1889.
The first sickness funds provided workers with a sickness allowance amounting to 60% of their usual pay, however for a maximum of 20 weeks. They were also entitled to a doctor, to medication as well hospital treatment, but for four weeks at the most.
Moreover, women were entitled to 60% of the average pay the first month after giving birth and the purse also paid out a funeral allowance to the family of the deceased amounting to the average pay for 20 days of work.
Addressing the anniversary ceremony, ZZZS director general Marjan Sušelj urged securing the health system's sustainability in the long run, also by increasing state budget finding.
The ZZZS gets 96% of its funds from mandatory health insurance and "when the economy dose worse, there will be less in contributions. Excessive dependence on a single source of contributions poses a major risk," Sušelj told reporters.
He favours abolishing top-up insurance in its current form, although he does not think this will solve the issue of the system's sustainability.
Due to the population's ageing and introduction of new medical technologies, Šušelj believes private funding should be included in the system and the basket of health insurance rights should be reassessed.
Health Minister Aleš Šabeder also noted the need to shift to a financing system that would be more resilient to potential fiscal crises, and to ensure suitable access to health services.
The ceremony was also addressed by parliament Speaker Dejan Židan, who said that universal access to public health services should not be just a catchphrase.