Schemes for compulsory health insurance were first introduced into Germany in 1883, the ramifications of which, in 1889, extended’ to cover permanent incapacity. Austria followed Germany’s lead in 1888, and Hungary in 1891. At the present time, pretty well the whole civilized world, with the exception of the United States of America, has some form of compulsory Health Insurance of a State nature. The scheme, so far as Great Britain is concerned, came into fo-ce on the 15th July, 1912, by viitue of the National Insurance Act of 1911.
National Health Insurance involves a compulsory payment of a fixed weekly contribution by all persons between the ages of 16 and 65, except non-manual workers in receipt of salaries exceeding £250 per year. The ‘cost is shared by the worker, the employer and the State, and the contributions are payable in the form of special stamps, which are affixed to cards obtainable from the Approved Society selected by the worker, or in the form of ‘deposit contributions’ paid into the local Post Office. The liability is upon the employer to see the necessary stamps affixed on the Insurance Card, and to cancel them. Emergency cards may be obtained from any Post Office.
The scheme covers Medical, Maternity, and Weekly Sickness Benefits, and Widows’ and Orphans’ Pensions, to which have been added amendments to the Old Age Pensions Act, 1908 to 1924.
The contributions now payable under the National Health Insurance Act are as follows :—