Private Health Insurance Funds 'Shocked' By Hospital Prices

Business | November 29, 2014, Saturday // 13:33
Bulgaria: Private Health Insurance Funds 'Shocked' By Hospital Prices Photo: EPA/BGNES

The private health insurance funds claim hospitals are cashing in for one and the same thing from several places, their prices have “reached monstrous levels and have gotten out of control”, reports the BNT public broadcaster.

According to Mimi Vitkova, former health minister and current chairperson of the Association of Private Health Funds, there have been cases in which hospitals calculated exorbitant prices.

A hospital in Sofia, for example, calculated BGN 330 per day for a VIP hospital room, while a hospital in Varna charged BGN 980 for three days for internet and cable television in the room. Another hospital charged BGN 10 000 for a birth.

“This is not a normal business, this is shock and awe,” Vitkova said at a press conference. “Which hotel in Bulgaria charges BGN 330 per night?”

Gabriela Georgieva, manager of a private hospital in Sofia, offering VIP rooms, urged the patients to read their contracts with the private insurance funds “more carefully”.

“We present them with a totally normal invoice, which they pay out of their pocket and later realise that the private insurance fund doesn't cover it,” Georgieva told the bTV private channel. “I am sorry, but this is how things are and there's nothing we can do about it.”

There are cases in which hospitals get money for one and the same thing from the National Health Insurance Fund (NZOK), the private funds and the patient, Vitkova claimed.

Representatives of both NZOK and the private health funds, demanded urgent amendments to the health laws, regulating the calculation of prices in hospitals.

“The problem is that there is no regulation and hospitals can charge whatever prices they like for medical and “other” services,” Vitkova said.

“There are wonders in their letters, describing the services they provided,” NZOK head Rumyana Todorova said. “We have to take measures, we're all patients, after all.”

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Tags: health, insurance, funds, hospitals, prices, NZOK, services
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