Hospital insurance to increase dramatically

10th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

10 February 2006, BRUSSELS — Premiums for hospital insurance or supplementary health insurance could rise dramatically in the coming period.

10 February 2006

BRUSSELS — Premiums for hospital insurance or supplementary health insurance could rise dramatically in the coming period.

Insurance firms have warned the public that premiums might need to be increased due to sharp increases in healthcare costs.

Healthcare costs have risen from an annual EUR 20 billion in 1999 to EUR 27 billion in 2004.

However, insurers have also stressed that certain costs are no longer covered by social security, newspaper 'Het Gazet van Antwerpen' reported on Friday.

A spokesman for branch association Assuralia, François De Clippele, said health insurance is becoming a loss-making business for insurance firms.

Insurers urged the government to draw up an objective benchmark on which healthcare costs can be measured and premiums adjusted.

Currently, some 7 million Belgians have hospital insurance with private insurance firms or the national health insurance scheme.

Some 4.6 million people have private hospital insurance and 2.4 million are insured via the ziekenfonds public health insurance scheme.

In 2003, just 4.3 million Belgians had hospital or supplementary insurance, which covers part of the difference between a hospital bill and the amount paid for by public health insurance.

Hospital insurance is designed to cover policy holders from unexpected medical bills.

However, amid the explosive rise in the number of Belgians taking out such insurance, there is intense competition between insurance firms and, consequently, the profitability of hospital insurance is tight. 

Supplementary insurance accounts for 5.1 percent of total healthcare spending, while the government contributes 75 percent. The patient pays 19.5 percent of the total healthcare costs.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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