The Romanian health system has a mix of compulsory and voluntary/private financial elements, but the private health insurance system is still very much in its infancy. Data on the number of people who choose private health insurance are not reported to any authority, but existing information allows us to estimate that about 15,000-20,000 individual private health insurance policies exist. In addition, the estimated numbers of persons that are subscribed by their employer to a health service subscription service are in the rank of 100,000-200.000.

There are huge differences between countries concerning the role of individual private health insurance within the health system and also the size and function of different markets for individual private health insurance. The statutory coverage is dominant in all countries; therefore the markets for individual private medical insurances are heavily influenced by the rules and arrangements of the publicly-financed part of the health system. It also means that individual private medical insurance generally plays a modest role.

Comparing the figures of private expenditures for health as a percentage of total expenditure on health one can see that they have varied from 20.5% to 30.6% between 1997 and 2003. One interpretation could be that the individual private medical insurance came on the market, but had no clear influence on private expenditure; another interpretation would be that the market for “subscriptions” expanded.

A survey on individual private health insurance systems presented by www.xprimm.ro shows that in Romania, 87.5% of those persons asked had the intention of paying for individual private health insurance and 65.4% considered that a greater level of premiums deductibility could positively influence their decision to pay. However, no data is available in Romania regarding numbers and types of people who chose private medical insurance. It seems that employers usually choose subscriptions for medical services for their employees rather then supplementary private medical insurances.

“Fiscal deductibility for private health insurance should be one of the most urgent solutions that the Romanian state should take into account. If 10% of the Romanian population who can afford private health insurance do not personally need the benefits from the national health budget as their private medical insurer will cover all their expenses, the state might direct those unused funds toward other classes of society that unfortunately cannot afford private health insurance.” said Zahal Levy, the president of MediHelp International.

Next: The differences between the new statutory benefits package and private health insurance with international coverage- MediHelp International Press Release- 09.01.2014