Social & Economic rights

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Constitutional Court Suspended the Procedure for the Review of Legality of the National Health Insurance Fund’s Regulation

On the occasion of Praxis’ initiative for the review of legality of the Item 8, Paragraph 2.1. of the Regulation on the content, form and manner of submitting a unique application for mandatory social insurance, unique methodological principles and unique codex of codes for entry of data in the unique basis of the Central Register of mandatory social insurance (in force as of January 2013), the Constitutional Court reached the decision on suspension of the procedure.

This Regulation envisaged that persons of Roma nationality should submit evidence of registration of permanent residence when applying for health insurance, which is contrary to the Article 22, Paragraph 1 of the Law on Health Insurance. Specifically, the stated Article of the Law on Health Insurance prescribes that in terms of and under the conditions prescribed by this Law, the insured are considered to be persons of Roma nationality who, due to their traditional way of life, do not have permanent or temporary residence registered in Serbia. During the procedure that was conducted before the Constitutional Court, the disputable Regulation was changed in a way that instead of registering the temporary residence an applicant shall register his/her permanent residence at the address of social welfare centre, based on the provisions of the applicable Law on Permanent and Temporary Residence of Citizens, which again are the conditions contrary to the Law. However, the Constitutional Court suspended the procedure finding that the respective change made the Regulation complied with the Law on Health Insurance.

Unfortunately, by this Decision, the Constitutional Court fully neglected the essence of the problem, precisely the Article 22, Paragraph 1 of the Law on Health Insurance intended for the persons of Roma nationality who cannot register their permanent residence at all. By this decision, the stated persons are still prevented from exercising the right to health insurance, and the disputable Regulation is still contrary to the Law, as the provisions of the Law on Health Insurance do not anyhow condition the access to the right to health insurance for the concerned category of persons by the registration of permanent residence.

Even though the Law on Health Insurance identifies the members of Roma nationality as a special category of insurers and recognizes the specificity of their social, financial and health status, by offering the legal ground for the regulation of the access to health insurance in a simple and acceptable way, the latest decision of the Constitutional Court easily supported the decision envisaged by the Regulation, which, at least in the current conditions, will prevent a significant number of persons of Roma nationality from exercising one of the basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

DOwnload: Initiative for the initiation of the procedure for review for legality
                Decision on suspension of the procedure for review of legality

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Praxis means action