Healthcare bill fraud hotline gets 500 complaints in two months
The complaints range from a telephone conversation resulting in a €218 bill to a three-month prescription which was charged as three separate prescriptions for one month. In other cases, patients have been sent bills for treatment they have not had.
Earlier research showed that fraud accounts for some €5bn of the total Dutch healthcare bill.
The PVV, which will present its hotline findings to health minister Edith Schippers on Wednesday, said the 500 complaints represent the tip of the iceberg.
‘These are people who have been given a bill by accident or have unexpectedly used up their own-risk element,’ MP Reinette Klever told news agency ANP. The own-risk element went up from €220 to €350 this year.
The party says patients should always be sent the bill for their treatment so it can be checked first before payment. Currently, most healthcare providers send bills directly to the insurer, cutting out patient controls.
In February, the Dutch health authority NZa warned health insurance companies they face fines if they fail to check that hospital bills are accurate or inflated.
The warning followed the case of a hospital in Terneuzen which charged an insurance company €1,066.73 for removing ear wax, describing the process as a ‘microscoptic ear clean’ and ‘removing polyps’. A year earlier, the same treatment cost €110.