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The Government Has Finally Admitted: The “Abolition” Of Supplementary Insurance Is, In Fact, A New Compulsory Contribution

“As of the 1st of January 2024, a compulsory health insurance contribution (obvezni zdravstveni prispevek – OZP) has been introduced to replace the voluntary supplementary insurance, which was abolished at the end of the year. The first compulsory health insurance contribution will have to be paid for January 2024 and will amount to 35 euros per month,” reads a message from the government on the social network X.

Throughout 2023, we kept hearing all the time that the government is abolishing supplementary health insurance – together with the media, they have been creating the fiction that people will no longer have to pay 35 euros extra for their healthcare (on top of the 300 euros or so they already pay in income tax). Now, finally, even the government has admitted to what is actually going on.

So, there is no more doubt and no more pretence. They have clearly admitted that the voluntary contribution has been changed into a compulsory contribution, which will be paid by everyone – including those who have not been paying it so far, and the money will now be flowing into the centrally-planned Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (ZZZS) instead of private insurance companies.

The government kept claiming throughout 2023 that this is about abolishing supplementary insurance

But the government and its street sub-systems were not nearly so honest just a few months ago. “There will be no increase because we are abolishing the contributions for supplementary insurance,” the coalition Left party (Levica) promised in April, referring to the transformation of the voluntary contribution into a compulsory one.

“Supplementary insurance finally abolished, now it’s time for a fairer contribution – until now, commercial insurance companies have been pocketing the 50 million euros collected every year through our contributions,” the 8th of March Institute (Inštitut 8. marec), a left-wing NGO, triumphantly claimed at the time. Prime Minister Robert Golob argued that it is clearly not the purpose of supplementary insurance, paid for by the people, for insurance companies to buy private clinics and dismantle the public system, which is why they have decided to go ahead with the abolition.

A 140-million-euro loss

The pogrom against the current system started when the Generali Insurance Company was among the first to announce a 10-euro increase in the price of supplementary health insurance in April of 2023. It cited unfavourable trends in the health services sector (rising prices of health services and the growth in the volume of health services provided over the last year) as the reason for the price increase. When other insurance companies also started to point out the need to increase the amount paid, the Prime Minister publicly questioned these calculations. However, the Institute for Economic Research came to the same conclusion, that 35 euros is too low a contribution and that this will lead to a situation where the Health Insurance Institute (ZZZS) will have a deficit of over 100 million euros.

After having been informed of the financial projection for the period 2023 to 2025, where a deficit of almost 140 million euros is expected due to the transformation of supplementary health insurance into a compulsory contribution, the Director-General of the Health Insurance Institute, Tatjana Mlakar, said that the premium would have to increase by 10 euros on account of medical inflation. So where did the Golob government find the fictitious data of untold profits forged by private insurers when the powerful central-planning Health Insurance Institute is forecasting a loss of 140 million euros?

Those with the lowest salaries will be burdened the most!?

Despite the complaints of those who consider themselves socially conscious that it is not right for someone with the lowest income to pay the same as someone with the highest income, we have now reached a situation where someone with the lowest income will pay more than someone with the highest income! This is because it is a compulsory contribution, which will be paid on gross salary and will reduce the income tax base.

A calculation by the media outlet Žurnal 24 shows that most pensioners who do not pay income tax will pay 35 euros. A worker (e.g. a cleaner) who is in the lowest income tax bracket will also pay the same amount, meaning – 35 euros. However, since this will mean that the person in question will pay 5.60 euros less in income tax, this will result in a salary that is 29.40 euros lower than before. Someone in the highest income tax bracket will also pay a premium of 35 euros, which will result in 17.50 euros less income tax being paid. This will reduce their salary by 17.50 euros. Those receiving average wages will have a reduction of around 25 euros when paying the 35 euro premium.

The cost will be borne by taxpayers

Next year, we will face a total cost of 240 million euros due to the lower income tax base resulting from the new compulsory health contribution. This is a figure that rightly angers people, given that the government has been passing on the cost of rebuilding Slovenia to the taxpayers for two years now, whose salaries it cut at the beginning of its mandate by abolishing the Janša tax reform. The total amount of the solidarity contributions collected in the first year is estimated at 156 million. Therefore, if the government had not embarked on such a reckless manoeuvre, citizens would hardly have had to pay the solidarity contribution, which has nothing to do with solidarity. We have now finally received confirmation that this is a new compulsory tax which – ironically – will fall most heavily on the poor and least on the rich.

I. K.

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