Health insurers are spending millions of euros on radio, television, internet and newspaper ads to try to attract new clients in the end-of-year change-over period, the Volkskrant reports.
Around one million people are expected to change health insurers during the six-week transfer window, according to insurance comparison websites. Comparison website Independer has 100 people on standby to answer questions during the final few days. ‘It is a madhouse,’ a spokesman told the paper.
Every click on a health insurance advert served by Google costs the insurers €5, the Volkskrant says. Last year they spent an estimated €59m on advertising, according to research group Nielsen. Of this, 85% was spent in the last two months of the year.
The consumers’ association Consumentenbond last week put the total marketing bill for health insurance companies – including the cost of temporary staff and administration- at €400m.
The Socialist Party has now begun a campaign against the spending. ‘They are trying to attract new clients with advertising and gifts but that money would be better spent on good care and lower premiums,’ the party says.
It has launched a special website where people can register their objections to the marketing bonanza.
The party points out that nine health insurance companies operate in the Netherlands and offer 40 different brands between them, so that companies are effectively competing with each other. Four companies control 90% of the market.
The SP supports the formation of a national health insurance organisation which is in public hands and which would remove the need for expensive advertising. Over 91,000 people have already given their support to the campaign.
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