Social Security accounts a little less in the red despite the health crisis

The Social Security deficit in 2021 should be slightly smaller than in 2020, while remaining at a very high level: – 34.6 billion euros, i.e. a decline of 4.1 billion euros in twelve months, if we think about the general scheme and the old age solidarity fund (FSV). This is one of the lessons of the Social Security financing bill (PLFSS) for 2022, presented on Friday September 24 by three ministers: Olivier Véran (health), Olivier Dussopt (public accounts) and Brigitte Bourguignon ( autonomy). Despite the rebound in economic activity, which stimulates the inflow of contributions, a return to equilibrium is not in sight in the short term, the government’s forecasts showing a “hole” of – 13.3 billion euros by 2025.

Unsurprisingly, it is the health insurance branch that suffers the most from the blow – 30 billion euros in 2021, a level almost unchanged from 2020. On the other hand, the year 2022 should make it possible to absorb a part deficit, this being reduced to – 19.7 billion in the PLFSS, which reflects both the improvement on the Covid-19 front and the renewed vitality of growth.

Read also the decryption of 2020: Abyssal fall in Social Security accounts in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis

The financial imbalances in 2021 come, in large part, from the 15 billion euros of exceptional expenditure linked to the health crisis. Initially, 4.3 billion euros had been provisioned for tests, vaccines and masks. But since then, several epidemic waves have passed through there. Not to mention the explosion in the number of screening tests, the purchase of vaccines or the deployment of the vaccination campaign, which forced Medicare to put money back in the pot.

For 2022, nearly 5 billion euros are provided for crisis spending. An amount placed under the sign of uncertainty: it could “Prove to be underestimated, in the event of a resurgence of the epidemic or of new vaccination campaigns, which the appearance of new variants or a loss of efficacy of the vaccines over time might necessitate”, according to the High Council of Public Finances.

A “historic break”

For the first time in its history, the national health insurance expenditure target (Ondam) appears to be down (- 0.6%), to 236.3 billion euros in 2022. A decline that the ministry of health explained by “Withdrawal” appropriations devoted to the fight against the epidemic, after two unusual years.

Another major item of expenditure: the Ségur for health, whose funding is increasing to represent 12.5 billion euros in 2022, after 9.8 billion in 2021. This plan for the hospital, announced in July 2020, results mainly in salary increases (183 euros for hospital staff, in particular), to which are added various measures such as the upgrading of midwives or C categories in the hospital public service.

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