Proposal for reforming Act on Client Charges in Health and Social Services to Parliament — more cost-free health and social services
The Government has submitted a proposal to Parliament regarding the reform of the Act on Client Charges in Health and Social Services. According to the proposal, more cost-free services will be introduced and client charges made more equitable.
New cost-free services would include nurse consultations in primary healthcare, outpatient clinic visits by people under the age of 18 and matters related to the treatment of certain communicable diseases, such as medication for the prevention of HIV.
Payment ceiling would be broadened to include more services
The scope of the annual payment ceiling would be broadened to include client charges for oral health services, therapy, temporary home nursing, temporary home hospital care and certain remote services in the client's costs for the payment ceiling. In future, client charges which are covered by social assistance would be included in the client’s annual payment ceiling calculation.
The payment ceiling would continue to be EUR 683. Clients would still need to monitor when they reach the payment ceiling. However, a new provision would be introduced whereby invoices concerning client charges would need to indicate whether the charges would count towards the payment ceiling.
Provisions on charges for long-term housing services would also be laid down by law in future
Provisions on client charges for long-term housing services would be added to the Act on Client Charges in Health and Social Services.
The charges would be determined on uniform grounds for home care services and long-term ordinary service housing.
Provisions to be issued on charges for long-term service housing with 24-hour assistance would, in turn, be largely in line with the provisions on charges for long-term institutional care. This way the grounds for collecting client charges for intensive care and treatment would be as consistent as possible.
Legal protection of clients would be strengthened
The preference for reducing or not collecting client charges over granting social assistance would be emphasised. The aim is to ensure that people would not need to resort to social assistance just to pay their client charges.
At the same time, the regulation on appeal would be clarified and the legal protection of clients strengthened. The Act on Court Fees would be amended so that court fees could not be charged for consideration of appeals initiated by private persons concerning client charges payable under the Act on Client Charges in Health and Social Services.
The amendments to the Act on Client Charges in Health and Social Services are scheduled to enter into force on 1 July 2021. The amendments concerning the payment ceiling would enter into force from the beginning of 2022, because the payment ceiling is set for clients’ costs per calendar year.
Laura Terho, Lawyer, tel. +358 295 163 550