The national health insurance spending target will jump by 15 billion in 2020 and another 7 billion in 2021, including more than 4 billion in provisions for tests, vaccines against Covid-19 and masks.

A provision of around 2 billion euros is planned in the Social Security accounts to finance the Covid tests in 2021.

In the space of a few months, Medicare’s budget has swelled dramatically. Last year, the deputies had painfully recovered a few hundred million euros for the hospital, and voted a spending target (Ondam) of 205.6 billion euros for health in 2020, against 200.4 billion in 2019.

The coronavirus has changed everything. According to our information, as part of the Social Security financing bill for 2021, the government is preparing to present an Ondam corrected to 215 billion for the current financial year and programmed at 222 billion euros for the next year. Special feature of the 2021 budget: faced with uncertainties about the health situation, Medicare will provision more than 4 billion euros for the fight against Covid-19.

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“These are large provisions, in case the epidemic should last a long time”, explains a government source. State services have tried to estimate the size of the shield as well as possible, but with a large margin of approximation, because until now, the crisis has continued to invalidate forecasts.

Of these more than 4 billion, around 2 billion are devoted to Covid tests. But the final bill will depend on multiple unknowns. The new saliva tests should not reduce costs insofar as they remain analyzed in a biological laboratory, like PCR tests, reimbursed up to 73.59 euros each. But antigen tests, which are analyzed manually, could cost in the order of half as much.

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The volume of tests consumed also enters into the calculation of these provisions. But it will itself depend on whether or not a vaccine arrives. The assumption used is around 500,000 tests carried out each week for the whole of 2021, against a trend of more than 1 million per week at the moment.

35 million people to be vaccinated

Of course, the government hopes that a vaccine will see the light of day next year. He therefore wants to provision 1.5 billion euros for this purpose. The starting point is that 35 million people will be vaccinated – in accordance with the advice of the Scientific Council – and the calculation is based on the average price of vaccine pre-orders already made.

On the other hand, in the 2021 budget of Social Security, exit the billions of euros of spending on masks, gowns, gloves and visors for caregivers. The government spent much of the year replenishing state stocks of masks, which were virtually empty before the crisis. What is done will no longer have to be done in 2021.

As for liberal doctors, home helpers, nursing homes and health establishments, to their chagrin, they will have to stock up themselves from October 1, 2020. A provision of 700 million euros will however be recorded in social accounts, in order to equip contact cases and people at risk of severe forms of coronavirus with masks. We just have to hope that these 4 billion ultimately prove to be superfluous.

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