Encourage healthy lifestyles with insurance discounts, says think-tank

Only people with a healthy lifestyle should qualify for an employer-related discount on their health insurance, according to the healthcare advisory council RVZ.

At the moment, companies can negotiate collective discounts for all their staff – leading to a total cut in insurance premiums of some €600m a year, the government’s think-tank is quoted as saying by news agency Novum.

However, it would be ‘obvious’ to couple the discount to a healthy lifestyle which could, for example, be based on an annual fitness test, the body argues in its latest recommendations.

One of the best ways of reducing the cost of the healthcare system while ensuring solidarity between all sections of society is to encourage a healthy lifestyle, the RVZ says.


In addition, it recommends that patients are told exactly how much their treatment costs. At the moment, bills are sent by hospitals directly to insurance companies and in some cases this has led to overcharging. Efforts are currently being made to stamp this out.

However, suggestions that people who smoke or have other unhealthy habits pay more health insurance were dismissed by the RVZ. The organisation says ‘differentiation according to lifestyle’ would be ethnically problematic.

Hospital visits

Meanwhile, the Telegraaf reports that health insurance companies may have saved tens of millions of euros last year because people were afraid to visit their doctor or dentist or make a hospital visit.

Even though they pay a monthly premium of around €100, many people fear they will have to pay top-up fees, the paper says.

This enabled insurance companies to keep premiums virtually unchanged this year, the paper says.

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