Jury still out on new healthcare system

19th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 July 2006, AMSTERDAM — The public is not very enthusiastic about the new healthcare system introduced in the Netherlands in January.

19 July 2006

AMSTERDAM — The public is not very enthusiastic about the new healthcare system introduced in the Netherlands in January.

A survey by consumer watchdog Consumentenbond suggested that 41 percent believes the changes have led to a worsening of the situation. Almost as many (38 percent) said there was little difference and 18 percent said it was an improvement.  

The respondents were less negative about the new system than was the case before it was introduced in January. Polls in June and September 2005 showed more than half of the public expected the new system would be worse.

Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst's reforms replaced the two-tier public-private healthcare insurance system with a basic insurance package for everyone. People are also free to take out additional coverage.

Hoogervorst said the changes would foster more competition between insurers and healthcare providers and thereby force down costs while improving quality.

Respondents in the latest survey were not convinced the reforms will have a positive impact on the quality of Dutch healthcare. Only 8 percent expected an improvement, while 41 percent detected a worsening.

A majority (60 percent) said the new health insurance was more expensive that their old package. But 76 percent expected to have to pay more when asked before January 2006.

Most of those questioned said the new freedom of choice and ease of switching insurers was positive. However, many consumers find it difficult to compare the rival packages on offer.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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