As in the case of other countries, Slovenia is also facing the reality that the country has to deal with a rapidly ageing population. The condition has long been calling attention from the government legislators to adopt health care laws aimed at providing long-term care.
According to Slovenia’s incumbent Health Minister Aleš Šabeder, the long-awaited legislation will be unveiled soon, possibly by the end of 2019 or by early 2020. However, some open issues still need to be discussed as the plan is to reform the existing Healthcare Act with caution.
Slovenia healthcare is primarily administered through the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (HIIS). It is a mandatory insurance program that requires contributions from employees and their current employers.
However, the health care provided is not all inclusive and therefore not long-term; or one that can help the country’s ageing population meet their medical needs when no longer able to work, or be constrained to live in nursing homes or in assisted-living facilities.
Under the present system, except for children’s healthcare, Slovenians have to pay additional insurance for supplementary medical or non-medical coverage, in order to increase the funds of the HIIS.
Key Points in Minister Šabeder’s Healthcare Agenda
“We have to find a solution for a long-term and stable source of financing if our goal is to abolish supplementary health insurance. What we are discussing here would cost about half a billion euros, but they will have to be secured one way or another”
— Slovenia Health Minister Aleš Šabeder
According to Šabeder, requiring higher contributions is likely but the amount, or whether it will be made voluntary or mandatory is still under evaluation. The Health Ministry is working with the Finance Ministry in conducting several simulations that adopt varying measures; such as higher contribution rates or imposing new taxes. The Health Minister though hopes that a small mandatory contribution would be possible.
Minister Šabeder is also tackling action plans aimed at waiting times, particularly in orthopaedic surgery. He considers, including private providers if necessary, in order to address waiting time issues. However, suggestions to furnish additional funds to private health institutions in order to reduce waiting time has been met with strong opposition. Some consider the proposal as a veiled way of veering away from public health care to favor private providers.