BGN107MN GAP IN THE NHIF
The management of the National Healthcare Insurance Fund (NHIF) has admitted BGN107MN shortage till the year-end for pay-free and partially paid medicines. At the same time, the NHIF flatly denied it has not been effecting payments for a month and a half to 1,200 owners of chemist's shops and warehouses for medicines, claiming that it was a matter of rare cases, in which due to the pharmacists' fault, invoices were not correctly filled.An inspection of the NHIF has established that the number of people with chronic diseases, entitled to pay-free medicines or medicines to be bought at a reduced price has increased by 57% from last year. This has been pointed out as one of the reasons for the shortage of finances. Currently, 1,700,000 people use medicines that are partly paid for by NHIF's money, gathered from health insurance installments. The projected monthly consumption of medicines till the year-end is within BGN19-20MN, or a total of BGN80MN. Another BGN27MN should be allocated to the hospitals for the purchase of injections, infusion solutions, etc., earmarked for treatment along the so-called clinical paths.Additional resources for covering the payment of medicines can be found in the avalable budget surplus, formed from the difference between revenues and expenditures in 2002. It is preestimated at BGN137MN, the NHIF insiders explain.NHIF's managerial team projects proceeds of BGN701MN for 2003 and expenses of BGN662MN, of which BGN597MN for pay-free medicines and payment of medical and stomatological services outside the hospitals. These figures have been entered in the 2003 draft budget. The money for treatment along the clinical paths are projected to go up from BGN100MN for 2002 to BGN177MN for next year. However, NHIF's Management Board will have the final say on its accounts and let's hope that the number of people with chronic diseases does not increase drastically.