Sleeping pills only partly in health package

Zimmer frames and other walking aids will remain in the basic health insurance package, despite recommendations that they be scrapped. However sleeping pills and some tranquilisers will only be partially covered from next year, health minister Ab Klink told MPs on Wednesday.

The recommendations to cut certain provisions from the basic healthcare package were made by the health insurance council CVZ earlier this year. But patient groups were critical, especially over the proposal to save €10m by removing walking aids for pensioners from the insurance package.
The cuts agreed in funding for sleeping pills are expected to raise €100m.
The minister has also agreed to include eight visits to a psychologist as part of the basic healthcare package. He believes this will allow insurance companies to better manage these costs and put pressure on mental health service providers to improve the quality of treatment.
Last year, mental health services cost €3bn. Long-term pyschological help is paid for through another part of the health service budget.
Under the Dutch healthcare system, patients are free to chose an insurer. And all insurers must offer a basic service and what this contains is determined by the government. Insurers compete on price and top-up services.

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