Aid group slams Dutch health insurance policy

13th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

13 June 2005AMSTERDAM — The Dutch branch of international aid group Doctors of the World has launched a scathing attack on the new healthcare system that is due to come into force in the Netherlands next year.

13 June 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch branch of international aid group Doctors of the World has launched a scathing attack on the new healthcare system that is due to come into force in the Netherlands next year.

"Doctors of the World foresees problems with access to healthcare for the most vulnerable people in the Netherlands if and when the new health insurance law is approved," Dokters van de Wereld said in a press statement on Monday.

The new health insurance scheme will replace the current two-tier, public-private system with one basic health insurance package for everyone. People will also be able to pay extra for supplementary coverage.

The new health plan was approved by the Lower House of Parliament in November 2004 and is expected to be given the green light by the Senate, or Upper House of Parliament, on Tuesday.

The new basic premium (EUR 1,100 per year) will apply to both higher and lower income earners.

About 6 million people on low incomes will have the right to a health insurance subsidy , which they must request from the tax office, Belastingdienst.  

"Experience shows that it is precisely the most vulnerable groups in society who can't navigate their way through the administrative jungle and therefore won't be able to pay the premiums," Dokters van de Wereld said.

Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst, the organisation said, has claimed that people will not end up being uninsured. But this only relates to the basic package, which only provides what is regarded as essential healthcare coverage.

Insurers can not refuse the basic package to anyone but do not have to grant supplementary coverage. Dokters van de Wereld said that the elderly and the chronically ill — exactly the groups that need extra coverage — could be refused additional insurance and not receive the care they need.

In addition, Dokters van de Wereld said doctors will be obliged to share medical data with insurers, threatening their duty of professional confidentiality.   

Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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