When a person becomes ill, they want treatment and all that entails. The demand for medical help and better health is endless and is usually regulated in two ways: through the use of money by Americans and through the use of queues by Europeans. Unfortunately, there is no system where endless demand can be met by limited supply to make all services immediately available to everyone.
The term “health insurance” is composed of two opposite halves: If we focus on “health”, we could debate universally health Insurance while adhering to health Insurance, which has been in force in Estonia for many years, everyone who wants to be treated should be insured, which means that a sickness benefit contribution has to be paid.
If you look at the numbers in Estonia – insured persons 1,273,743 (31.12.2022) and health insurance revenues €1,931,195 (2021 current), the contribution of each insured and equivalent insured person together with the state budget share amounts to €1,500 a year or €125 im Month. (The minimum social tax contribution was €192.72 in 2022).
Estonia has 637,336 employed insured persons (50.1 percent) and 636,407 (49.9 percent) equivalent insured persons. Bearing in mind that the latter do not contribute to the health insurance budget (except for the part of the state budget for unemployed pensioners), the minimum amount increases to €215 per month.
The idea of universal health insurance is to make health services accessible to everyone who needs them. With around 100,000 uninsured (rough estimate) and talking about health insurance In this context, about 230 million euros per year would have to be raised for general health care.
A 2018 survey by the Praxis Center for Policy Studies found that the current, extremely complicated system can be fine-tuned to improve coverage by 1 percent. The forms of work and employment relationships have also changed. Opportunities for employer and individual insurance are in small steps, while those for unions or large representative organizations (such as the Estonian Artists’ Union) are still lacking to insure their members.
The health insurance debate should go beyond taxes or paying more and could instead get to the point: who is responsible for people’s health, whether regular check-ups are a sensible health investment and whether medical advice is recommended or mandatory.
Debates about the availability of health services and their location as well as compensation for aids and medicines would also be necessary. The key question must be which system gives us the healthiest people and helps them return to normal life in the shortest possible time after illness. Have a good debate!
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