All Bulgarians will be required to pick a health insurance fund from September 2008, said Antonia Parvanova, deputy chairperson of the parliamentary health policy committee. Those that fail to hand-pick a health insurer will be distributed randomly among the funds.
The health funds that manage to accumulate at least 100,000 client accounts by the beginning of 2009 will be allowed to operate alongside the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF). They will also be required to have 10 mln levs in guarantee capital with certified origin.
The monthly rate for health coverage contributions will increase to 8% from 2009 with the cash flow split in a 70:30 ratio between the NHIF and the licensed funds.
Starting from next year, the NHIF will be allowed to select the hospitals that will provide reimbursable medical services. At the moment, all health establishments that need the relevant criteria work with the NHIF.
In 2010, Bulgarians will be allowed to decide to either pick one fund to manage fully their health plan or stick with the NHIF.
To operate independently on the market, the funds will be obliged to have at least 500,000 clients and to meet a requirement for a 25% increase in accumulated funds.
The funds will be barred from refusing to take on a client on account of age or health factors.
A total of 17 health insurance funds currently operate here.