Senate approves new health cover scheme
8 June 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Senate has approved the new healthcare scheme after a lengthy debate, clearing the way for private and public health insurance to be replaced with a basic package in 2006.
8 June 2005
AMSTERDAM — The Senate has approved the new healthcare scheme after a lengthy debate, clearing the way for private and public health insurance to be replaced with a basic package in 2006.
Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst succeeded in overcoming the Senate's initial objections on Tuesday and an official vote will be held next week. The Lower House of Parliament is still debating one other piece of legislation necessary for the reforms.
Hoogervorst expects teething problems might arise when the new system is introduced, but he has ruled out chaos. If a chaos does arise, the Liberal VVD minister said he will resign.
To gain the support of the Christian Democrat CDA — backing which was necessary for a Senate majority — Hoogervorst also made several pledges to ensure a smooth introduction of the new scheme.
He promised to investigate whether insurance packages can be automatically extended in the transitional phase and will allocate EUR 1 million to patient and consumer support organisations during the implementation of the system.
Hoogervorst said he will set up a special group of doctors, insurers and the Dutch competition watchdog NMa to oversee the introduction of the scheme.
Dutch politicians have been discussing the introduction of one basic insurance package for 30 years.
The Senate vote means that from 1 January 2006, everyone will be obligated to take out basic health cover, eliminating the difference between private and public insurance. People can also take out extra insurance supplementing the basic package.
The new basis package will be similar to the current ziekenfonds public insurance scheme and the nominal contribution is expected to be EUR 1,100. An income-based contribution must also be paid by the employer or social security authority.
People with lower income will come into consideration for a rebate paid on a monthly basis. The rebate can amount to a maximum of EUR 425 for singles and EUR 1,200 for couples.
It is intended that health insurers will discuss the costs of treatments more often with doctors and hospitals. Minister Hoogervorst hopes market forces will make healthcare more affordable and efficient.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news