On April 11 the Croatian Pensioners Party (HSU) will launch the signing of a petition against the recent increase in the price of supplementary health insurance from HRK 70 to 89, and the petition will be signed until April 30, the HSU said at a news conference on Thursday.

All civil society associations, pensioners' associations, political parties, citizens and trade unions will be informed of the drive and asked to join in. Signatures will be signed across the country, in houses, institutions, squares, market places and other locations.

HSU leader Silvano Hrelja said the drive was addressed at 1.6 million people with supplementary health insurance policies who made regular payments and who, he said, were now expected to give an additional HRK 400 million a year to the state.

He said that all calculations showed that the price of supplementary health insurance could remain at HRK 70 if the state met its financial obligations.

"The government should pay the HRK 350 million that was not paid by the previous government last year and the system will be able to function at HRK 70 per policy," said Hrelja whose party was a junior partner in the previous ruling coalition.

"Citizens have paid for their policies in 98.8% of cases. The state, which is obliged to cover its policy entirely, has paid for it at the rate of HRK 31 and now the government wants to additionally burden citizens and make the entire health system more expensive. I'm afraid that this is aimed at destroying the current solidarity-based system of health care," he said.

If supplementary health insurance were paid both by the state and citizens, HRK 2.2 billion would be collected annually, the HRK 70 supplementary health insurance policy would cover all expenses, and there would remain room for further lowering the price of supplementary health insurance or raising the minimum amount of income that makes a person eligible for free supplementary insurance, said Hrelja.

"If we all paid for supplementary health insurance, there would be more room for raising the minimum amount of income required for a person to be eligible for free supplementary insurance and it would additionally protect the poor, the weak and the elderly," he said.

Private insurance companies that sell supplementary health insurance policies sell such policies at HRK 150 for people above 65, he said, warning that the higher price of supplementary health insurance paid to the Croatian Health Insurance Institute (HZZO) would open a hunt for insurees by private insurance companies.

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