The Dutch healthcare authority NZa is to carry out research into the size of bills charged by some doctors and hospitals for simple operations.
The investigation follows several claims that hospitals are charging health insurance companies high fees for simple treatments.
In one case, a hospital in Terneuzen 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.
Other excessive fees noted by the NZa include treatments to stop a bleeding nose and to deal with tick bites.
The VU teaching hospital in Amsterdam is already under investigation for sending bills for treatment that may not have taken place.
Because most hospitals directly bill health insurers, patients only become aware of high charges if they have not paid the full own-risk element, and are then asked to do so by their insurer.
The own risk element has gone up from €220 to €350 this year.
Have you ever been overcharged for a hospital procedure? Have your say using the comment box below.
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