Private Health Insurance as a Financing Source of Occupational Medicine (OM) in Poland: Opportunities and DilemmasIzabela Rydlewska-Liszkowska1 and Alicja Sobczak2*
- *Corresponding Author:
- Alicja Sobczak
Faculty of Management
University of Warsaw, Poland
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: April 24, 2013; Accepted date: June 06, 2013; Published date: June 08, 2013
Citation: Rydlewska-Liszkowska I, Sobczak A (2013) Private Health Insurance as a Financing Source of Occupational Medicine (OM) in Poland: Opportunities and Dilemmas. Occup Med Health Aff 1:118. doi: 10.4172/10.4172/2329-6879.1000118
Copyright: © 2013 Rydlewska-Liszkowska, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
The article raises a question of covering occupational health services (OHS) by private health insurance. Such an idea has been recently promoted in Poland in order to diversify financing sources and strengthen market forces in relation to occupational medicine (OM). However, its implementation in a long-existing, highly regulated and comprehensive Polish OM system (characterized in a synthetic way by the Authors from the legal, organizational and macroeconomic points of view) brings about several issues to discuss and solve, including a scope of OHS insurance, the relations between private insurers and OHS providers, exchange of information, obligations of employers. Therefore, introduction of OHS insurance products requires adopting legal regulations concerning the definition of OM/OHS as well as the detailed range of insurance coverage (types of risks and benefits covered under standard and extended policies, such as preventive medical examinations, workplace health promotion programs, health care services provided in case of accidents and occupational diseases, etc.). Lack of precise regulations in this area may potentially result in certain unintended and negative consequences, including a significant and uncontrolled growth of OHS costs, applying different (unequal?) protection standards for employees working in the same sectors/ branches/ workplaces and the so-called “cream skimming” phenomenon limiting health insurance scope to the most financially effective insurance “products”. Finally it should be emphasized that successful implementation of OHS private insurance policies requires introducing fiscal incentives (tax reliefs for employers on OM insurance costs). Otherwise employers will be more likely to purchase OHS in the old ways - from medical firms (OHS as the core element of “medical packages”) or directly from OHS providers.