SIGNAL IDUNA survey: More than 60% of respondents prefer private healthcare over the public system

Miruna Macsim 27/06/2023 | 12:10

SIGNAL IDUNA ASIGURARE REASIGURARE, the leading health insurance provider in Romania, according to the latest report by the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF), reveals the results of opinion surveys conducted between October 26th  and December 19th, 2022, and from 27th  March to 9th May 2023, as part of the marketing campaign, “Disease doesn’t choose, but you can!”. The extensive campaign was designed to gather insights directly from the public and raise awareness about health insurance, specifically focusing on coverage for cancer, hospitalization, and surgical interventions.


According to the results of opinion surveys conducted via online questionnaires with 1,180 participants, 68% of respondents state that they have not had health insurance in the past. Furthermore, 50% would be willing to pay a maximum of 100 lei per month for health insurance. However, they perceive the cost of such policies to be significantly higher for the Romanian market, ranging between 100 to 300 lei per month.

The findings of a study conducted by UNSAR, the National Union of Insurance and Reinsurance Companies in Romania, demonstrate a notable increase in the proportion of Romanians willing to make additional payments to access high-quality healthcare services, compared to the previous year. The study reveals an average increase of over 3% across all medical services. Surgical interventions remain at the top, with 79%, followed by medical recovery at 77%, and hospitalization at 76% as the top three services for which Romanians are willing to pay more, according to UNSAR data.

While the public health insurance system in Romania covers a wide range of services, such as primary care and most medications, patients must bear a portion of the outpatient medications costs, ranging from 10% to 80%. According to the World Health Organization, Romania ranks among the lowest in the European Union terms of healthcare expenditure per capita and the percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) allocated to the healthcare sector.

“Our goal is to enhance understanding and awareness about health insurance’s importance and ensure this topic is more accessible and comprehensive to the general public. We want every individual to recognize that there are convenient solutions for any health concern in Romania, no matter how complex it may be. We want people to feel more confident in choosing health insurance that suits their needs. This campaign is part of SIGNAL IDUNA’s long-term commitment to contribute to the population’s well-being by emphasizing the significance of health insurance”, stated Lidia Malacia, Marketing Manager at SIGNAL IDUNA ASIGURARE REASIGURARE.

Regarding hospitalization, 80% of respondents stated that either they or a family member had been hospitalized within the public healthcare system, incurring costs below 1,500 lei. However, despite acknowledging the shortcomings in the public healthcare system, 64% of respondents preferred for private healthcare if the need for hospitalization arose. Furthermore, 43% estimated that they would be willing to pay between 1,500 and 5,000 lei, although the actual costs in private hospitals surpass this amount significantly. For instance, it is estimated that the price for an appendectomy in a private hospital, without private health insurance, would amount to around 6,500 lei for the procedure and an additional 2,500 lei for hospitalization services for the patient and accompanying person.

In the context of surgical interventions, 70% of the survey participants utilized the public healthcare system, with 52% stating that they paid less than 1,500 lei for these procedures. However, they estimate that if they received the same medical services in a private hospital, the costs would exceed 5,000 lei. 

Simultaneously, they must be aware that private health insurance provides daily hospitalization allowances for public hospitals and access to any healthcare provider in Romania and even within the European Union and Turkey.

Regarding cancer diagnosis, 55% of respondents are aware that Romania ranks first in the European Union in terms of deaths from treatable causes of cancer. However, 54% do not undergo the necessary periodic screenings for cancer prevention. In comparison, 74% of respondents state that either they or a close person diagnosed with cancer received medical services within the public system. In this context, 93% experienced financial and emotional pressure.

“After analyzing the collected data, we have observed that many Romanians are unaware that private health insurance provides financial protection, particularly for costly medical treatments and procedures that would otherwise be impossible for many patients to afford financially and emotionally. Furthermore, 88% of respondents expressed their desire to be covered outside the country in the event of an oncologic diagnosis, unaware that health insurance would grant them access to any specialized clinic and hospital in Romania, and within  the European Union and Turkey. Most respondents are unaware of the benefits that health insurance provides in the case of a cancer diagnosis, such as the possibility of having a companion throughout the entire hospitalization period, the reassessment of the case by a panel of medical experts, or the option of obtaining a second medical opinion. Additionally, health insurance covers the cost of reconstructive surgical interventions, psychological counseling, and nutritional guidance”, continued Malacia, 

As far as the choice between health insurance and medical subscriptions is concerned, 58% of respondents claim to have had no experience with either of these solutions. On the other hand, 62% know that private health insurance gives quick access to any doctor in any private clinic and hospital in Romania. Although health insurance for hospitalization covers costs even after surgical interventions, and health insurance for cancer covers not only the cost of consultations but also tests, investigations, treatments, and even psychological counseling and nutritional services, 72% of respondents are unaware of these benefits.

Through this campaign, SIGNAL IDUNA aims to raise awareness among the population regarding the existing solutions in Romania for any health issue, both in terms of prevention and treatment, and to meet individual needs by ensuring access to quality medical services.

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