Clever solutions enhance long-term vitality of health care system

During today’s seminar of 3rd April, health care managers, doctors and representatives of stakeholders working in the Estonian health care system with foreign experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) discuss the sustainability of health system financing.

The Estonian Health Insurance Fund in co-operation with the Ministry of Social Affairs has initiated an analysis of the sustainability of financing the Estonian health sector. The analysis evaluates further options for financing, taking into consideration changing economic and budgetary policy. Today’s seminar is the opening event of a long-term analysis on the services financed by health insurance, the state budget, and the private sector and cost-sharing of the people.
According to Hanno Pevkur, Minister of Social Affairs, the whole of Europe is facing the question on whether we can preserve universal health care based on solidarity. “Now is the right time to evaluate the total expenses of health care in a wider context. WHO experts are helping us to conduct an analysis that will enable us to make necessary changes in order to preserve the sustainability of the health system in the long-run. Health system and health expenses should be interpreted as a whole, pursuant to our agreement established in the Tallinn Charter,” added the Minister.
“Today’s health insurance system is financed by social tax paid by employees. As the number of our senior citizens is constantly increasing whilst the number of employees is decreasing, it will jeopardise the sustainability of the system in a longer perspective,” said Hannes Danilov, Chairman of the Management Board of the Health Insurance Fund. “The time has come to analyse and discuss the options that would guarantee our future sustainability.”
The World Health Organisation also supports the preparation of the analysis. “In today’s changing economic environment, the issue of the sustainable financing of health systems has become real for many European Countries,” said Jarno Habicht, representative of the WHO in Estonia. “Estonia’s initiative to analyse the options for better health system financing is highly appraisable. Through engaging different parties in discussions and taking into consideration the experiences of other countries, it will certainly be possible to find smart solutions that contribute to the stability of the health sector,” added Mr Habicht.
Less than a year ago, at the WHO Ministerial Conference, the Tallinn Charter, which constituted the basis for the analysis to be conducted, was signed. The Charter emphasises solidarity and fairness in the health system. Financing arrangements should sustain the redistribution of resources to meet health needs, reduce financial barriers to the use of needed services and protect those in need against financial risks in a manner that is fiscally responsible. We are becoming more aware of the fact that a well-functioning health system constitutes an essential part of economic development.
The analysis will be conducted from April to October. In the framework of the analysis, different seminars will also take place, the opinion leaders of the Estonian economic and health sector will be interviewed, and the analysis of the current situation and further options will be conducted. As a result of the aforementioned process, a public report on the long-term sustainability of health system financing will be completed by October 2009.
With best regards,
Evelin Koppel
Public Relations Manager
Estonian Health Insurance Fund