Health insurers are not competing properly, says health minister

Photo: Darnyi Zsóka wikimedia commons
Photo: Darnyi Zsóka wikimedia commons

Health minister Edith Schippers has criticised health insurance companies for failing to compete properly with each other and focusing too much on marketing and the level of their premiums.

In an article in economists’ magazine ESB the minister says insurers should boost their role as patient advisors because they are the ones who have real information about the quality of different treatments, the Financieele Dagblad reported.

They should also differentiate themselves from their competitors through their contracts with healthcare providers. ‘Contracts are the most powerful instruments insurers have to facilitate targeting, quality and cost management,’ the minister said.

The growth in the number of identical policies sold under different names is also frustrating consumer choice and ‘therefore competition within the system,’ Schippers said.

‘That applies to the 58 standard policies and their repackaging’ to target specific groups. Collective policies for specific groups or organisations are primarily marketing instruments with discounts and have no added value, the minister said.

The government is responsible for deciding what is covered by the basic health insurance police but insurers are free to develop their own supplementary policies.

Consumers have until the end of the year to decide whether or not to switch health insurance company next year.

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