Health insurers to take over psychiatric care costs

doctor euros healthcare costGovernment plans to transfer the entire cost of providing psychiatric care and other mental health services to health insurers are likely to fail, experts and care providers say in Tuesday’s Financieele Dagblad.

The coalition agreement between the VVD Liberals and Labour party states that from 2017 health insurers will be responsible for buying in psychiatric services because they will be able to do it cheaper and more efficiently than the current health boards.

At the moment, health insurers get compensation if they have policyholders who need expensive psychiatric services. That will stop from 2017 and care providers warn that insurers will be reluctant to take on potentially expensive patients.

In addition, mechanisms used to control spending on physical illnesses cannot be applied to mental health needs such as depression, the experts say.

Health minister Edith Schippers has established a special committee which is looking into the changes and the potential impact on expensive patients with unpredictable needs.

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