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Those With Invalid Social Security Number to Pay for Emergency Care Out-of-Pocket

Péter Cseresnyés 2020.09.10.

Despite former promises, emergency care will not be available free of charge to those who do not have a valid social security number. Anyone who accrues six months worth of social security debt as of July has to pay for the service.

The parliament passed the new Social Security Act last year, introducing stricter rules to the Hungarian social security system. One of the most notable changes in the new regulation that has taken effect on July 1, 2020, is that anyone who accrues more than three-months worth of debt by not paying their monthly healthcare contribution, gets their social security number (TAJ) invalidated. As a result, they will have to pay for every healthcare service until they settle their debts.

Public Healthcare: Not Paying Contribution for 3 Months Results in End of Free Service
Public Healthcare: Not Paying Contribution for 3 Months Results in End of Free Service

Parliament passed the new Social Security Act on Wednesday, altering many aspects of the Hungarian social security system. After the legislation comes into effect, anyone accruing more than a three-month debt by not paying their monthly health service contribution, gets their social security number (TAJ) invalidated. This means they will have to pay for every […]Continue reading

Although the government made a promise earlier that this rule would not affect emergency care, it seems that this will be the case.

Those who accumulate six months worth of social security debt after July will also have to pay for emergency care, said Zsolt Kiss, director-general of the National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary (NEAK) at the conference of IME medical journal, leftist daily Népszava reports.

The head of NEAK drew attention to the fact that the Ministry of Human Resources issued a decree in August, according to which a person who does not have a valid social security number has to also pay for emergency care.

Medical Chamber: Social Security Act's Consequences Disproportionate
Medical Chamber: Social Security Act's Consequences Disproportionate

The Hungarian Medical Chamber (MOK) has asked president János Áder not to sign the new Social Security Act, arguing that restrictions should not by all means lead to the denial of necessary care or a potential indebtment of the individual. The Chamber’s new leader, Gyula Kincses, in a message posted to his Facebook page, although welcoming certain restrictive aspects of […]Continue reading

Hospitals can ask for the cost of care as much as they would receive from NEAK if the affected patient had a valid social security number, but not more than HUF 750,000. The bill can be settled even after the medical intervention. The patient or their relative must also be informed of the costs before the procedure.

The regulation applies to those who accumulate six months worth of debt since this past July, which means the first bills for surgery will be sent out next January the earliest.

Featured photo illustration by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI