‘Insurers drag feet over hospital fee reform’

Efforts to reform how the cost of hospital care is calculated in the Netherlands are being slowed down because insurance companies are unhappy at the high level of risk they will face, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Monday.

Health minister Edith Schippers wants to abandon the current system, whereby the government determines the cost of most treatments, and allow hospitals to set their own fees. She hopes to introduce the new system on January 1, 2012.
The minister hopes to stop hospitals putting up prices too far by limiting their revenue growth to 2.5% a year.
That means health insurance companies will have to negotiate tight agreements with hospitals if the level of care is to remain the same.
But sources told the paper that some insurance companies are ‘not interested’ in the new system, want a longer change-over period and more guarantees that they will be able to adapt to their new role. In particular, healthcare giant Achmea is dragging its feet, the paper says.
Achmea Zorg chairman Roeloft Konterman told the FD insurers do not object to the switch. ‘But we want to take our time,’ he said. ‘They are trying to steamroller this measure through and we will come to regret it.’

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