Bulgarian Health Fund Found Guilty of Discrimination

November 25, 2012, Sunday // 01:32
Supreme Court Finds Bulgarian Health Fund Guilty of Discrimination: Bulgarian Health Fund Found Guilty of Discrimination
NZOK is discriminating against Bulgarians with multiple sclerosis since it grants treatment only to those who are 65% disabled, according to the Supreme Court. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgaria's Supreme Administrative Court, VAS, has ruled against the National Health Insurance Fund, NZOK, on charges of discrimination against people suffering from multiple sclerosis.

NZOK is found guilty of discrimination because it provides funding for treatment only to patients who have 65% disability, while the rest are left to deal with the suffering on their own, according to the VAS rule.

VAS' rule was announced after a 3-year-long battle of an employee of the Council of Ministers, Desislava Rayanova, against a NZOK decision to provide the very expensive medication (nearly BGN 2 000 a month per patient) only to those with 65% disability from multiple sclerosis.

In January 2010, Rayanova filed a claim with the Commission for Protection against Discrimination, which in July 2011 won the case against NZOK, per the rule of the Sofia Administrative Court, SAS.

NZOK filed an appeal, leading to the Supreme Court confirming the rule of the lowest instance.

Rayanova, cited by the Bulgarian Trud (Labor) daily, says that thanks to the expensive treatment she feels well and can work full time at the office of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov.

She witnessed before VAS that 5 000 Bulgarians are diagnosed with the debilitating condition, mostly young people, and cannot afford the medication.

The woman, 43, has been diagnosed at the age of 33.

Last month she won another battle – to ban employers from firing or laying off people who suffer from multiple sclerosis.

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