Two ministries are currently finalizing plans to assess the lifestyle of Czech citizens. While the Health Ministry wants to go the more “rewards” route, a more radical plan is being finalized in the Finance Ministry. In theory, he can “punish” those who do not behave according to established criteria. For example, temporarily paying higher health insurance contributions.
The theme of prevention and emphasis on a healthy lifestyle resonates this year not only in terms of health, but above all in terms of economics. During the government’s plans to consolidate the state budget, there is talk that billions could be brought in and saved by a push to attend preventive exams or a change, for example, the introduction of an excise tax on sugary drinks. . However, even from a health point of view, Czechs are asked not to be very “in shape”, and studies confirm that they do not pay much attention to prevention. Two departments are now finalizing programs to promote sex.
The first proposal comes from a Ministry of Health workshop. He does not want to bet on “penalties”, but rather on some reward. “As part of the upcoming amendment to the regulations related to public health insurance, the Ministry of Health, according to the government’s project report, plans to introduce a system to reward insured persons for taking proper care of their health. Subject to preventive examinations or paid vaccinations,” said department spokesperson Ontage Echo 24 Jacob.
According to the proposal, the new system should be linked to the preventive funds of health insurance companies. “From them, these insured persons can receive more contributions to various activities and services. The first concrete proposal will be presented in the near future, and we expect it to be submitted to the government in the middle of next year according to the standard rules of the legislative process,” added Ondřej Jakob.
Prevention funds are established by law by all insurance companies and often contribute to sports, children’s camps, vaccinations or preventive exams. The amount of contributions and the possibility of drawing them vary. Some insurance company contributions are already conditioned on participation in preventive exams or screening programs. Starting this year, even the largest insurance company VZP has introduced this condition for some.
However, the Finance Ministry is also preparing a second scheme on the same topic. Even in his case, the particular proposal has already reached the final stage. “The proposal is currently being finalized and will be first presented to the NERV Working Group on Healthcare later this year,” spokeswoman Gabriela Krushinova told Echo24. However, according to him, a proper assessment of people’s lifestyle can emerge only from the deliberations of the working group.
One variation of how the system could work was previously outlined in the Echo24 newspaper by Martin Shamaj, an adviser on health issues to Finance Minister Zbyňek Stanjura (ODS). If the original assumption holds, then the fundamental difference compared to the Ministry of Health’s version would be negative motivation, i.e. those who, according to the Ministry, behave “inappropriately” or “unhealthily”. Overburdened health care, requires additional payment.
“Our goal to change the health-related behavior of citizens is to communicate information, correct behavior and rules on how to maintain health. This is a motivational system, and if the indicated indicators are set and if the indicator is not met in a calendar year or selected inadequacy is confirmed, the ‘malus’ can be implemented in the next calendar year” explained. Martin Shamaj, a healthcare management expert, elaborates on this idea in the Echo24 newspaper.
If the proposal actually works like this, a “noncompliant” patient, for example, could see his health insurance premiums increase by one percent per year. Even in the case of the finance ministry’s proposal, it was said that there should be clear measurable criteria like the aforementioned preventive check-up visits, which would detect serious problems in time and make treatment significantly cheaper. However, the publication of the debate on the proposal has led to questions about whether it should aim at lifestyle measures, such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity or, for example, voluntary prevention such as vaccination against the flu.