Private healthcare is also available in the country, although it is little used. The Ministry of Health oversees the health service.
The Office for the Supervision of Healthcare supervises the five health insurance companies and the healthcare establishments and controls what is offered as part of the basic healthcare package, known as ‘the solidarity package.’
There are five health insurance companies responsible for the collection of the health insurance contributions and for reimbursements.
The General Health Insurance Company covers the majority of the population. The Common Health Insurance Company is the second largest and both are guaranteed by the state.
Citizens are able to change insurance company at any time, but there is little competition between the insurance companies, although more recently insurance companies have attempted to attract people to their funds.
There appear to be no identifiable benefits for the public in having such a choice of companies. The money collected by each insurer is paid to the state run General Health Insurance Company for rationalisation.
Health insurance is mandatory for all income-earners. The government pays contributions for those citizens who are exempt for contributing like the unemployed, old age pensioners and people on long-term sickness benefit, maternity leave, job seekers, those on disability benefits and reservists.
Employers must register their employees with one of the health insurance funds when a new employee starts work.
Employees pay 4 percent of their basic income into the fund, whilst employers pay 10 percent.
Employed disabled people need only contribute 2.6 percent of assessed income because the state makes up the remainder.
Self-employed citizens must pay the full 14 percent contribution, which is calculated as 50 percent of the income on which they paid tax in the previous year.
The minimum wage for healthcare contributions is approximately 91 EUR and there is a top limit whereby you do not need to contribute any more to the insurance funds, which makes this a system biased towards high income earners.