Just over half of patients know that visits to their family doctor are completely free and don’t fall under the ‘own risk’ system, according to new research by TNS Nipo.
And three in 10 don’t realise that a visit to a hospital accident and emergency department does count towards the own risk payments and they may well have to foot the bill, the survey for health insurer VGZ found.
In the Netherlands, patients have to pay the first €385 of their annual healthcare bills themselves, but some services, like family doctors, are not included in the own risk system and are therefore free.
The survey also found that 10% of people have delayed seeking treatment or avoided it altogether because they don’t have the money to pay the own risk charge.
A further 13% say they have made extra calls on the health service they had already reached the own risk threshold and would not have to pay.
The own risk payment is being frozen at €385 next year but a number of political parties are campaigning to have it abolished altogether.
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