Government Approves National Health Insurance Fund Budget for 2008

National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) contributions will not change during 2008 - that is they will remain at 6 per cent of gross income - according to the Government's proposed budget for the institution, BTA reports.

The budget is balanced at 1,600 million leva (just over 800 million euro), with the main part of this - 940 million leva - provided by contributions to NHIF. A 170 million lev subsidy has also been foreseen from the National Budget to cover NHIF deficits. This will allow 370 million leva to be saved at the Bulgarian National Bank to guarantee the Fund's financial stability.

Providing the needed resources for emergency pre-hospital treatment is among the main priorities. A total of 1,400 million leva have been set aside for NHIF payouts, 115 million of which will provide for pre-hospital emergency aid, 125 million for specialized pre-hospital treatment, 55 million for diagnostics and 65 million for dental care. Hospital aid receives the most - 740 million leva - while 295 million leva will be for medication and home treatment.

Access to medical aid has been evenly distributed among the nation's regions, and improving its provision is another priority.

Тhe temporary provisions of the Government's bill provide for the 2006 National Framework Agreement to be put into place if consensus on the 2008 Agreement is not reached by NHIF and the Bulgarian Doctors' Union. That way patient care is guaranteed, as is fair payment of medical staff out of NHIF's budget.

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