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Chilean Congress to decide fate of private health insurers

Santiago de Chile, May 13 (Prensa Latina) The Chilean Congress will vote on a controversial project on Pension Health Institutions (ISAPRES) that increases the time for private insurers to pay multi-million dollar debts to users.

In November 2022, a ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice forced these institutions to adjust the value of their plans and return $1.6 billion to their members for excessive charges.

After months of negotiations, and just as the deadline to comply with the verdict expires, a mixed commission of Parliament approved the so-called Short ISAPRES Law, which does not generate consensus because it extends the time to pay off the debt up to 13 years and also authorizes them to increase the prices for services.

Defenders of the initiative argue that this would prevent the bankruptcy of private administrators and an eventual collapse of the National Health Fund due to the emigration of users to the public system. On the other hand, the detractors point out that although the project would allow the ISAPRES to continue operating for some time, they will apply strong increases in health plans to balance their finances, transferring the debt to the users.

“They will take money out of people’s pockets to pay them what they are owed,” warned Tomás Lagomarsino, surgeon and independent deputy.

Minister of Health Ximena Aguilera, in turn, defended the project and recalled that as long as private insurers maintain the debt due to excessive charges, they will not be able to withdraw profits.

The Pension Health Institutions were created in 1981 during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet and currently have about three million clients, out of a total population of more than 19 million people.