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OEB could propose postponement of NHS contributions

January 24, 2019 at 8:23am
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The island’s Federation of Employers and Industrialists (OEB) could propose the postponement of National Health Scheme contributions until contract agreements  between doctors and the Health Insurance Organization (HIO) and private hospitals are reached.

The proposal, to come before the Federation’s next Executive Committee meeting, follows a thorough review of the play of state, according to an informed source who also said that the postponement period should apply to both employees and employers. And all this because there is no final road map for the Plan’s implementation process and nothing is clear so far.

The Federation’s conclusion came after an in-depth study on the economic impact following a possible absence of the necessary consensus.

OEB is deeply concerned that, in less than two months’ time, Cyprus’ most important reform since that of the Social Insurance Fund will come in effect and no one is certain that it will be a success. “We’re almost there but…,” another  source told Insider.

The same source made clear that the Federation is in favor of the NHS, provided it is based on a carefully-drafted feasible plan that will not cause problems to the island’s businesses and public finances. “If contributions begin on March 1, 2019, as the bill provides and autonomy does not come to conclusion, a huge black hole in the economy of the country will be formed,” the source said.

The question now is whether OEB’s recommendation will be accepted by the government and the parties involved, since they all seem to believe that the process is on a good path based on what has been agreed so far.

The plan provides that as of March 1, and for the following year, employees will pay a rate of 1.7% on their income, employers 1.85% (on the income of each employee separately) and the State 1.65%. For the self-employed, the rate of contribution during the first stage of the NHS is set at 2.55% and for the pensioners and other income earners at 1.7%.

After the full implementation of NHS expected in June 2020 (with rates effective as from March 1, 2020), employees, pensioners, officials and other income earners will pay 2.65%  on their income, employers 2.9% for each employee, the State 4.55% for each employee and for the self-employed the contribution rate is set at 4%.

 

Read more: Medical association urges doctors not to participate in NHS

The board of the Cyprus Medical Association has urged doctors not to participate in a planned national health scheme, in a new twist to protracted efforts to set up a national health plan.

The unanimous decision followed a marathon meeting of the board that went on late into the night. In an announcement, the CMA said that the planned scheme posed serious dangers as to the quality of the health care to be offered and the safety of patients.

The CMA had met with the Health Minister, the Health Insurance Organisation and President Nicos Anastasiades seeking changes to the proposal, including the right to be able as doctors to join the scheme but to also offer private medical care.

Their demand was rejected as not being covered by the law on the NHS approved by parliament.

Meanwhile, according to Phileleftheros tax authorities and the auditor general are joining forces to scrutinise doctors’ tax returns to determine whether they evade taxes.

The paper said that they will also review whether all doctors have a tax file and whether the income their declare justifies their assets.

Tax authorities can seek further information from the doctors themselves and can also carry out on the spot checks.