The regulations on contributions to the National Health Scheme (Gesy) were approved by the House plenum on Friday.
Regulations, voted with 36 votes for and two abstentions, provide for the procedure for collecting, paying and withholding contributions for the purposes of Gesy. The package also includes regulations determining co-payments and contributions to be paid by the beneficiaries of Gesy when receiving health care services.
Among the provisions is a €25-fee that patients will have to pay if they visit their general practitioner (GP) after 8pm or during the weekend and public holidays.
The provision in question, according to the head of the House health committee, Costakis Constantinou, was an incentive for private sector GPs to respond, if they wish to, to patients wanting a consultation during those hours.
The provision in question was not well received by Akel and Edek.
Akel parliamentary representative, Giorgos Loukaides, said that his party, despite backing the regulations, were not in agreement with the €25 coming out of the pocket of patients.
He said that it is the state that ought to foot the bill, and that Akel would fight to have the provision scrapped.
Edek leader, Marinos Sizopoulos, said that the provision aims at preventing a direct visit to specialist doctors.
“What would happen if a patient had a heart attack and who would pay the cost of loss of life due to the time lost for the referral form the GP to the specialist?” he asked.
Other co-payments concern €1 for each prescription, €6 per visit to specialist doctors and to nurses of midwives, €10 for X-rays, and per each visit at the accident and emergency departments.
There will be no charges for vulnerable groups.
In March 2019, contributions for Gesy will be collected by the social insurance services, the tax department and the state treasury.
Phase One of Gesy will kick in on June 1. This concerns outpatient care provided by personal physicians, specialists, pharmacies and labs.
Gesy will be in full swing as of June 1, 2020 with inpatient care.
As of March 1, employees will contribute 1.7 per cent of their wages, employers 1.85 per cent of each employee’s wages, while the self-employed will contribute 2.55 per cent of their insurable income. As of March 2020, with the full implementation of Gesy, these percentages will increase to 2.65 per cent for employees, 2.90 per cent for employers and 4 per cent for the self-employed.