Highest number of people on sick list
The number of people on the sick list is the highest in Sweden since 2008. The Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) is considering raising its prognosis for how much the health insurance will cost this year. In February of this year, there were 133,000 people on the sick-list, which is 6,000 more than last year during the same month. “In general there are higher numbers than we thought just a few years ago,” says Mathias Johansson, analyst at Försäkringskassan. The number has increased partly because of new rules for sickness benefits. Benefits that are time-limited (known as “tidsbegränsad sjukersättning), have disappeared, and people who used to have this kind of benefit will now receive sickness benefits (sjukpenning). “That it would have this kind of effect was probably something nobody thought of, that those receiving sickness benefits would influence the numbers like this,” Johansson says. Another reason for the increasing number of sick-listed Swedes may be the increasingly strict demands on getting permanent sickness benefits. Those who earlier received “sjukersättning” are now stuck with “sjukpenning,” and nobody is to receive time-limited sick benefits. Since the long-term cases of sickness are increasing in numbers, Försäkringskassan is now considering raising its prognosis of the cost of sickness benefits this year. “We see that ‘sjukpenning’ is being paid out more and more days and it is therefore safe to say that there’s an increase in the prognosis we will deliver to the government in July,” Johansson says.