Healthcare freedom of choice under threat, entire hospitals excluded

Health insurance companies are limiting patient access to some hospitals, and some policyholders will have to pay a contribution to be treated in hospitals with a better reputation, according to research by the AD and insurance comparison website Independer.

More expensive health insurance policies are also excluding policyholders from treatment in some hospitals and this is a worrying development, spokesman Edmond Hilhorst said.

‘People who opt for the cheapest insurance understand they cannot be treated wherever they like,’ he said. ‘But what worries us is people who are not switching health insurer because they think nothing has changed for them.’

For example, people who have a Univé Zekur policy and who live in Amersfoort, Dordrecht and Leiden cannot be treated in their own town, unless they are prepared to foot part of the bill themselves. Their policy only covers treatment in 16 of the country’s hospitals.

Other policies only include treatment in hospitals considered to be poor performers, the research published by the AD showed. For example, Rotterdammers with the cheapest Achmea policy will have to use Havenziekenhuis hospital rather than the port city’s other, better performing, hospitals.

Just one policy, offered by ONVZ, still offers complete freedom of choice, Hilhorst said.

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