Supplementary social security providers, joint and mutual organizations within the IPSE community, have undertaken a mission of reflection and recommendation to make their action even more efficient.
A draft of a European Charter for Social Protection Providers based on Solidarity is in progress, through a democratic and participatory process, both within the association and open to others, particularly our European partners on our steering committee. The idea of a charter was proposed by Jérôme Vignon, former director for social inclusion and social protection at the European Commission, at the close of the XXXVth IPSE Meeting in Seville in July 2010.
Once the final version is drawn up (though it will still be adaptable to the diverse realities of EU member states),this charter will be a commitment to respect values and a way to proceed in favor of responsible, public-spirited and fair social protection.
Yet in France, the member State where IPSE has its headquarters and that provides the base of its direct members, the social economy of social protection is facing new fiscal measures that weigh both on their own functioning and on the contributory capacity of those insured. These measures heavily impact access to supplementary health coverage.
The euro crisis has considerably increased the vulnerability of member States in financing their fiscal imbalances, which have become worrying in many cases, though each case is, of course, individual. The states currently in the spotlight have adopted drastic austerity programs—the opposite of the USA and its stimulus plan. In Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy, social rights and especially social protection are coming under fire, even though many other budget cuts are possible. In France, where the budget deficit, although serious, is less painful than in the aforementioned states, a set of measures aimed at reducing the debt contains a proposal that goes against any notion of solidarity: a tax increase on supplementary health insurance policies. This is an increase because said tax came into being in the summer of 2009…as a temporary measure!
French social security pays for 75.5% of medical goods and healthcare, the state contributing 1.3% (2009 figures). Supplementary insurance covers 60% of the remaining cost, meaning that parties with social insurance, in addition to their financial contribution to their supplementary coverage, are directly responsible for 40%. Note also that universal supplementary health coverage – CMU –, having become indispensable, is financed entirely by supplementary insurance providers and represents 6% of the cost of supplementary coverage.
All of these measures penalize citizens first and foremost, reducing their access to health care. Furthermore, for those with the least resources, who will put off going to the doctor while their health deteriorates, it is perfectly clear that when they eventually do seek medical care, their cost to insurance providers will only be that much greater.
Mutuals and joint organizations, already heading towards “responsible contracts based on solidarity”, and necessarily those who are committed to our proposed draft charter, seem to be stigmatized, even though their primary purpose is to bring about more equitable access to social protection through solidarity