• Sweden edition
 
Government in new bid to fix health insurance

Government in new bid to fix health insurance

Published: 11 Apr 2011 09:19 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Apr 2011 18:15 GMT+02:00

Sweden's new, tougher health insurance rules, which were adopted several years ago, have been the subject of near constant criticism and in response, the government launched a review of its reform efforts last autumn.

A memo is set to be circulated for comment shortly which is expected to lay the groundwork for a Riksdag decision scheduled for the autumn of 2011, social insurance minister Ulf Kristersson of the Moderate Party wrote in a debate article in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper on Monday.

Representatives from the four centre-right governing parties who sit on the Riksdag's social insurance committee also signed the article.

"Health insurance reforms have, for the most part, been successful," the group writes.

"But not everything has been good and certain people have been put in a bind."

Among other things, the proposed changes included increased scope for individual assessments of those who reach the outside limit of 2.5 years

If such people are so ill that it would be unreasonable to force them off health insurance benefits, they would be allowed to continue receiving payments.

The government also wants to increase economic security for those who leave time-limited disability pension payments, previously referred to as 'early-retirement' benefits (förtidspension).

People who go off health insurance payments but don't qualify for sickness benefits (sjukpenning) because they had no previous income, should no longer be directed to basic welfare benefits, but would instead receive a new special benefit payment.

They would also be able to qualify for housing support payments.

Other proposed changes included earlier measures for rehabilitation, better coordination between the agencies involved, and that Sweden's National Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) receive money to create 3,000 new positions for people with reduced working capacity.

"Health insurance has always primarily been a transitional insurance aimed at returning people to work, according to their abilities," the authors write.

"A society which high welfare ambitions must, at the same time, create clear requirements to utilise everyone capable of working to the extent possible."

In a press conference later on Monday, Kristersson pointed out that, prior to the reforms, Swedes appeared to be sick during economic downturns and healthy when the economy was booming.

At the same time, the number of people receiving long-term disability benefits was increasing.

"This is about many and difficult conversations," he said in reference to discussions carried out by Sweden's Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) with people whose benefits claims were being assessed.

Kristersson argued that many of the reforms had worked well, citing figures showing a reduction in the number of people receiving long-term sickness benefits as well as a reduction in the average length of time people received those benefits.

Nevertheless, he promised improvements included in the draft legislation set to go out for comment, including more flexibility in making individual assessments.

He also promised earlier and better cooperation between the Public Employment Service and the Social Insurance Agency.

In addition, the entire benefits chain will be reviewed in order to help rebuild confidence in the system.

Kristersson said he was disappointed that state agencies received such low marks in the eyes of the public, explaining that exactly how appeals were adjudicated varied widely in the first instance.

The draft proposal's comment period will last through the summer, with a Riksdag decision on the adjustments expected in the autumn.

The opposition political parties, however, weren't particularly impressed.

"It's good that the government admits that there are problems in the health insurance system, but it's too bad that they aren't putting forward proposals that will fix the problems," said Social Democrat Tomas Eneroth, vice chair of the Riksdag's social insurance committee.

According to Eneroth, the proposals put forward by Kristersson in the debate article would have a marginal effect and amounted to too little, too late.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

15:34 April 11, 2011 by Jes
Finally , the cobra is about to be defunged !
16:26 April 13, 2011 by Willy
I would question translating "sjukförsäkring" as "health insurance". The former concerns disability and sickness payments, but NOT healthcare, as the latter would imply.
Today's headlines
Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag meets children in Husby, Stockholm. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation

The Swedish government announced that it plans to remove all mentions of race from Swedish legislation, saying that race is a social construct which should not be encouraged in law. READ  

US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

A mystery airplane that passed over Swedish airspace recently has been revealed as an American aircraft, sources revealed on Thursday. READ  

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Sweden's three elite boarding schools can no longer charge tuition fees, the government announced on Thursday, in a string of changes following a two-year review. READ  

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace
Photos: TT

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stated that there are four steps to achieving peace in Gaza, and that it begins with removing the blockade - which has "played into Hamas' hands". READ  

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Cecilia Malmström has been nominated to be the European Commissioner for another five years, Sweden's prime minister announced on Thursday. READ  

Stockholm Pride 2014
In Pictures: Stockholm's Historic Pride Party
Conchita Wurst belts out a ballad. Photo: Rebecca Jacobs

In Pictures: Stockholm's Historic Pride Party

With Stockholm's Pride Week in full swing, The Local's Rebecca Jacobs heads on down to the traditional Historic Party to take in the colours, Conchita, and the community. READ  

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two people were taken to hospital in the early hours of Thursday morning after a fire began in their central Stockholm apartment. READ  

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall
Photo: Jim Cole/TT

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall

Swedish supermarket chain Coop has recalled its in-store brand of fresh hamburger meat after a routine check revealed traces of salmonella in the meat. READ  

What's On in Sweden
Photo: Roger Vikström/TT

What's On in Sweden

It's Pride Week in Stockholm. Find out more about the celebrations (including the biggest Pride Parade in Scandinavia) as well as plenty of other activities in Sweden's three biggest cities. READ  

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'
Hillevi Engström and protesters against Uganda's anti-gay laws. Photos: Maja Suslin/Ben Curtis/TT

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'

Sweden has resumed sending development aid funds to Uganda, after suspending payouts back in March due to "anti-gay legislation". READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats
National
Gender neutral pronoun 'hen' enters dictionary
Society
Top ten cafes in Stockholm
People-watching
Gallery
People-watching - Stockholm Pride
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden
Society
Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Blog updates

31 July

Calling a speedo a speedo (Blogweiser) »

"There are a lot of speedos on Europe’s beaches. Some European males are evidently more comfortable sporting small, stretchy suits on public beaches than I would be. I accept it may be nice to have swimwear that’s not long and cumbersome. A speedo is maybe also good for tanning. But strolling around town in a..." READ »

 

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 
 
 
Lifestyle
Stockholm Pride kicks off
Analysis
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
National
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
National
Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
National
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Gallery
Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

741
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se