Medical personnel is at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19. Medical workers handle virus cases each day, and in the fight against the illness they often lose their own health and sometimes even their lives.
In Ukraine, over 12 thousand medical workers have now been infected with the virus, which is approximately 9% of all infection cases. 98 doctors died of virus-related complications, and yet only 12 families received financial compensation from the state.
At the height of the pandemic the Ukrainian parliament enacted a law approving the issuing of financial compensation to medical workers who have fallen ill with COVID-19 or died of associated complications. A month later, in June, the Cabinet of Ministers issued a decree regulating the provision of such compensation.
The law and the decree only apply to cases involving death or disability of the medical worker. As such, some hospitals in the country have begun the procurement of COVID-19 infection insurance for their personnel through Prozorro without involving government initiatives.
The companies with the most hospital insurance contracts signed are USI and Oranta. The first company belongs to entrepreneur Oleksii Kocherev, who in 2012 ran for MP as a member of Nataliia Korolevska’s “Ukraine Forward!” party. The other one has connections to Kazakh entrepreneur Kenes Rakishev, the son-in-law of Kazakh politician Imangali Tasmagambetov.
Read more on how the state supplies the front lines of the war against the coronavirus in this Ukrayinska Pravda article.
COVID-19 infection rates among medical workers
The highest rate of infections among medical personnel was recorded in April, when one in five of those infected with COVID-19 was a medical worker.
At the beginning of September the percentage of infected medical workers was around 9% (12 306 cases, according to Ministry of Healthcare data from September 9) of the overall number of people infected (143 030) in Ukraine.
Official data, however, might not accurately represent the true rate of coronavirus infections. Hospital administration sometimes pressures personnel to conceal incidences of COVID-19 infection.
State insurance for medical workers
During a May 7 emergency session, the Verkhovna Rada passed a bill expanding the rights of medical workers and their family members.
Legally, it equates doctors treating COVID-19 to “military personnel engaged in combat”, but it does not really protect them should they contract COVID-19.
The law does not guarantee insurance payouts to all medical workers who contract the coronavirus while at work, but only to those who become disabled or die of COVID-19 complications within a year since infection.
Insurance payouts are adjusted according to the severity of the disability and are scaled as such: UAH 630 thousand for a type III disability, UAH 735 thousand for a type II disability and UAH 840 thousand for a type I disability.
The medical worker’s family will receive UAH 1.5 million in compensation if the coronavirus case proves fatal.
At the beginning of summer the Cabinet of Ministers issued a decree that regulates the issuing of insurance payouts to medical workers in cases of COVID-19-related disability or death. The payouts will be handled by the Social Security Fund of Ukraine. UAH 233 million have been allocated for the effort.
According to Prozorro data from September 2, insurance was procured for 13 800 medical workers. Overall, more than 83 thousand medical workers in Ukraine are currently handling coronavirus cases.
The regions with the most insured doctors are the Sumy (3 861), Dnipropetrovsk (1 672) and Mykolaiv (1 343) oblasts.
In the Kirovohrad, Kharkiv and Khmelnytskyi oblasts, no Prozorro procurement of COVID-19 insurance for medical workers took place.
COVID-19 infection insurance for medical workers may also be provided by charities, volunteers or private enterprises.
In Lviv oblast a custom, regional COVID-19 insurance program took place. A relief fund was created through donations in a joint effort by the local authorities, businesses and private citizens. The money was then transferred to a private insurance company. The program allowed over 5000 medical workers in the region to obtain COVID-19 insurance.
In Ukraine, there are 240 designated “key hospitals” that accept COVID-19 patients. According to our calculations, Prozorro procurement helped insure 4999 key hospital workers in 15 regions.
The regions with the most insured key hospital workers are the Sumy (1 324), Zakarpattia (817) and Kherson (532) oblasts.
Insured event payouts for medical workers
Usually, the duration of COVID-19 insurance for medical workers is one calendar year. Depending on the company and the selected insurance plan, the payouts range between UAH 5 and 15 thousand in the case of COVID-19 infection and between UAH 10 and 40 thousand in the case of death.
It should be pointed out that some establishments obtained insurance policies with much higher payouts. The doctors of the Sumy emergency rescue center will be paid UAH 315 thousand should they fall ill or die because of the coronavirus.
According to our calculations, USI was the company that signed the most COVID-19 personnel insurance contracts with medical institutions. Between March and August, it signed 46 contracts and insured more than 4 thousand doctors.
The second place for the most COVID-19 personnel insurance contracts signed goes to Oranta PJSC that insured over 3 thousand doctors with 30 contracts.
Oranta was founded in 1994. The end beneficiary of Oranta as part of BTA Bank is Kazakh venture capitalist Kenes Rakishev.
Kenes Rakishev is the son-in-law of Kazakh politican Imangali Tasmagambetov, who from 1993 to 2004 served in positions including the State Secretary of Kazakhstan, Head of the Presidential Administration of Kazakhstan and the Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan. From 2004 to 2014 Tasmagambetov first was Äkim of Almaty and then of Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana). In 2014, he returned to higher positions (Minister of Defense, then Deputy Prime Minister). In February 2017, he was appointed ambassador of Kazakhstan to Russia.
Medical personnel is at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19. Medical workers handle virus cases each day, and often in the fight against the illness they lose their own health and sometimes even lives. The state only provides financial compensation when medical workers become disabled or die of COVID-19, and as such medical institutions are forced to insure their workers with their own funds or to ask for help from charities, volunteers or businesses.