'Insurance revamp damages healthcare'

29th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 November 2005, AMSTERDAM — Health insurers in the four big cities in the Netherlands will be the main losers under the new health insurance system coming into force in January, it was claimed on Tuesday.

29 November 2005

AMSTERDAM — Health insurers in the four big cities in the Netherlands will be the main losers under the new health insurance system coming into force in January, it was claimed on Tuesday.

Platform Zorginstellingen Grote Steden (PZGS), the lobby group for the medical establishments in the major cities, is hosting a conference in Utrecht on Wednesday to discuss the anticipated problems with the new system.

The group claimed on Tuesday that its members would have less money to spend under the new health insurance system, and healthcare in Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam (the Randstad) would suffer as a result.

There is more poverty in these cities than elsewhere, people go to the doctor more often and there are more "derailed" people with psychiatric complaints, the PZGS said.

Health insurance companies active in the Randstad will receive more money in recognition of this, but the PZGS said this amount may be far less than what is needed to cover the cost of healthcare in the big cities.

Health insurers in The Hague and Amsterdam are already operating at a loss, the lobby group said. There are similar problems in Utrecht and Rotterdam.

Increased competition between the insurers — one of the aims of the new health insurance system — will leave less funds for projects to treat drug addicts, according to Chairman Gerard Tanke of the PZGS. "Insurers may then only offer programmes for their own clients," he said.

Tanke also noted that hospitals and care homes in the big cities have higher costs, for accommodation and security, for instance. He said he expected the insurers would not be able to cover these costs either.

As a result, Tanke expects, that an additional influx of uninsured patients availing of medical care in the cities.

The umbrella group of insurers, ZN, said on Tuesday that it would examine next year if its members operating in the big cities were getting sufficient compensation under the new law. These additional funds come from health insurers operating in more sparsely populated areas.

Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst has ordered his officials to investigate how to prevent citizens becoming uninsured once the new system comes into force.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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