19% of Bulgarian Households Made Catastrophic Health Expenses in 2018

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Sofia, July 19, (BTA/GNA) – In 2018, 19% of Bulgarian households made catastrophic health expenditures and around 8% were impoverished because of out-of-pocket payments for healthcare.

These are the findings of a report by the World Health Organization, presented on Tuesday at a meeting under the auspices of the parliamentary healthcare committee.

Attending the meeting were MPs, outgoing Health Minister Asena Serbezova, representatives of the World Health Organization, National Health Insurance Fund Chairman Petko Salchev. The report is the first comprehensive analysis of financial protection in Bulgaria’s healthcare spanning the period from 2005. The latest data refer to 2018.

People who are most likely to make catastrophic health expenses are the poorest, the elderly, as well as households in rural areas, said Tamas Evetovits of the WHO office in Barcelona, citing data from the report.

Most likley to result in catastrophic health spending are medicines for in home treatment, medical supplies and hospital careр he added. With the poorest households the financial difficulties are entirely due to drugs for home treatment.

The cases of catastrophic out-of-pocket payments in Bulgaria are more compared with many other countries in the European Union, In Bulgaria in 2019, out-of-pocket payment accounted for 40 per cent, said Evetovits.

Nearly 15% of the population have no medical insurance and have access to limited publicly funded medical services, the report notes.

The prices of drugs are decreasing but remain high compared with other countries from the EU. As a share of GDP public health expenditures are low compared with most EU countries including those from the Western Balkans, said Evetovits.

Parliamentary healthcare committee chair Anton Tonev said that no one in the healthcare system wants reforms and that this should be stated. He said that what is required is a change in financing, investments in the sector, reducing out-of-pocket payments and a large share of additional financing in the form of health insurance.

GNA

Credit: BTA

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