4. Paying for services
Adequate funding for health is important to manage the excess demands on the health system. This section considers how countries are PAYING FOR COVID-19 SERVICES. Health financing describes how much is spent on health and the distribution of health spending across different service areas. The section also describes who is covered for COVID-19 testing and treatment, whether there are any notable gaps (in population coverage and service coverage), and how much people pay (if at all) for those services out-of-pocket.
4.1 Health financing
On March 15, the Austrian parliament enacted the COVID-19 Act. It established a crisis management fund with an original endowment of EUR 4 billion which was raised to EUR 28 billion on April 3. The fund is meant to allocate financial resources quickly, with immediate processing, to obtain and stabilize the high health care requirements in the country. For example, the fund pays the costs (EUR 130 million allocated) of purchasing medical devices and aids, such as breathing masks, protective suits and gloves.
The second COVID-19 Act, enacted on March 20, regularizes, amongst other things, important labour market measures, and additional financial injections to the social health insurance funds (the latter with an amount of EUR 60 million). Furthermore, the second COVID-19 Act modified the Long-term Care Fund Act (Pflegefondsgesetz) with an additional section concerning extraordinary financial charges. As a result, long-term care facilities can apply for earmarked funds in case of extraordinary financial costs due to COVID-19.
Second COVID-19 Act, https://www.sozialministerium.at/Informationen-zum-Coronavirus/Coronavirus---Rechtliches.html (accessed on April 7th 2020).