Well done health minister Ab Klink. Your latest plan is certainly guaranteed to solve some of the problems facing the Dutch health service by cutting down on red tape and bureaucracy and boosting efficiency.

So what is Klink, whose ministry has a €1bn over-spend, doing? He is tinkering. From next year all health insurance policies will carry a €150 own-risk clause, which means that patients have to pay the first €150 of their medical treatment in any one year.
At the moment, health insurance has a €250 no-claim bonus. Which means if you don’t make any claims, you get €250 back.
Healthy people will be worse off under this new scheme because they will no longer get cash back – something which will doubtless help get rid of the health ministry budget deficits.
But what about people with chronic conditions who know they will have to cough up the entire own-risk payment? Well, Klink has agreed that they will get €47 back from the treasury. Not a nice round figure like €50, but a precise €47.
Does it get any more bureaucratic? Yes it does. In Amsterdam, officials are so worried about the extra cost for people on minimum incomes that they have come up with a special ‘re-insurance’ policy.
So the poorest Amsterdammers will be able to insure themselves against the own-risk payment for about €10 a month – which is €120 a year. Given that the own-risk is €150, this will give them the grand saving of €30. It’s enough to give you a headache.

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