On 19 September, as a guest on the Public Broadcaster’s TV programme, First Studio, the Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, Davit Sergeenko, stated: “The socially vulnerable have, although small, a privilege in that their medication is being financed by 50% throughout the year, within a certain amount limit, although this is a very small amount.”
FactCheck took interest in the social insurance used by Georgia’s socially vulnerable citizens and verified the statement made by the Minister.
Within the framework of Resolution No. 218 of 2009 of the Government of Georgia, state insurance covered the population below the poverty line, internally displaced persons residing in compact settlements, homeless children and national artists.
Based upon Resolution No. 165 of 2012 of the Government of Georgia, the state insured children of the age group of 0-5 years, pensioners, students and children with disabilities and severe disabilities.
It is noteworthy that in 2014 the beneficiaries of the health insurance defined by the Resolutions No. 165 and No. 218 joined the Universal Healthcare Programme. The Universal Healthcare Programme was enacted on 28 February 2013 and covered all citizens not having any other insurance package. Based upon the information of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, the same health insurance package used previously was maintained for the beneficiaries of Resolutions No. 218 and No. 165.
The Universal Healthcare Programme does not include the provision of medication although Resolutions No. 165 and No. 218 provide a 50% co-funding of medication purchases within a set minimal limit.
According to Resolution No. 218, since 2010 drug costs have been reimbursed for the socially vulnerable within the annual limit of 50 lari (with 50% co-funding). Since 1 September 2012 the annual funding limit of medication for the socially vulnerable population and persons above retirement age has been increased to 200 lari (with 50% co-funding).
In 2014, the beneficiaries of the state health insurance, including the socially vulnerable, joined the Universal Healthcare Programme although the health insurance package used previously was maintained.
Medication for the socially vulnerable is being reimbursed by 50% within a certain set annual limit. The annual limit of the drug costs is indeed a very small amount as also stated by Minister Sergeenko: for the socially vulnerable the limit is 50 lari whilst for a person above the retirement age holding the same status it is 200 lari. Additionally, the socially vulnerable have been using the abovementioned benefits since 2010.
FactCheck concludes that David Sergeenko’s statement: “Medication for the socially vulnerable is being financed by 50% throughout the year. Although, this is a very small amount,” is TRUE.