Gama A, Reis CO, Soutos IS, Bahia L . O espaço da regulamentação dos planos e seguros de saúde no Brasil: notas sobre a ação de instituições governamentais e da sociedade civil. [The regulatory space for health plans and insurance in Brazil : notes concerning the actions of government institutions and of civil society.] Saúde em Debate [Health in Debate] ( Río de Janeiro , Brazil ) 2002 January-April; 26(60):71-81.

Objectives: To examine the regulation of health plans and health insurance in Brazil , specifically Law 9656/98 and the operations of institutions that regulate plans and health insurance.

Methodology: Documentary and bibliographic analysis.

Results: The authors analyze the role of government institutions, including those in the legislative and judicial branches, and the contradictions that arise from the different clients and interests, which they represent. Government agencies, professional associations, and institutions that represent private insurance companies or consumers influence the National Supplementary Health Agency, a branch of the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health faces difficulty in molding a consensus about regulatory policy for private health plans. This difficulty has led to a proliferation of regulations that in many instances cancel themselves out or contradict the constitutional principles of universality and unfettered access specified in both the Constitution and the Unified Health System.

Conclusions: Health plans and health insurance in Brazil require effective regulation. Such regulation should be discussed and approved by the National Congress to reflect the viewpoints and positions of organized groups in Brazilian society. Regulation also should foster a broad definition of health.

Copyright 2007 University of New Mexico