The main goal of the healthcare reform in Bulgaria is to ensure high quality medical and dental care to the population. One of the ways to achieve this goal is to rebuild the doctor - patient relationship, to restore their mutual trust and to reestablish the "family doctor" institution.
The health insurance system in Bulgaria and all relevant social relations were introduced in 1998, as the Bulgarian Parliament adopted the Health Insurance Act. It is the legal basis for changing the Bulgarian healthcare system and for the introduction of both compulsory and voluntary health insurance in the country.
The Health Insurance Act established the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) as a public organization and set forth principles defining the relationship between NHIF and the health care providers. NHIF is responsible for the development, operation and management of the compulsory health insurance scheme in Bulgaria.
The compulsory health insurance is a system for social health protection of the population, which guarantees a package of health-related services, and is administered by the National Health Insurance Fund and carried out by its territorial divisions - the 28 Regional Health Insurance Funds. The voluntary health insurance is optional and is carried out by shareholder companies, registered according to the Commercial Law.
The Health Insurance Act also regulates the signing of the National Framework Contract between NHIF and the professional associations of the health care providers - doctors and dentists. The National Framework Contract provides for the parameters and procedures related to the functioning of the health insurance system as a whole. It defines the order, the contents and the payment of the health care activities and services to be provided to the insured population. The National Framework Contract is valid for one year, until the signing of the next one. The first National Framework Contract was signed on 27 April 2000.