Sunday 18 August 2019

Court tears up health watchdog report on insurer call centres

stethoscope healthcare doctorJudges in Amsterdam have slammed the Dutch healthcare authority NZa for publishing a report on how health insurers deal with policyholders by phone.

Three of the biggest Dutch health insurance companies went to court after the NZa published their names and ordered them to take steps to improve the provision of information.

Zilveren Kruis/Achmea, VGZ amd CZ came worst out of the test, with up to 30% of questions being answered wrongly, the NZa report showed.

The research was carried out by market research group TNS Nipo on behalf of the NZa and involved placing 1,500 phone calls to health insurance company call centres.

Information

The court said in its ruling that the NZa did not have any of the information collected during the survey.  This meant the insurers were unable to defend themselves and the accuracy of the results could not be assessed.

In addition, it is unclear how many of the answers were actually wrong,  how many had been answered by ‘I don’t know’  and how often the caller had been referred to another source of information, the court said.

The ruling is particularly painful for the NZa because it has been under fire for not being tough enough on insurance companies, the NRC points out.

In 2014, the NZa lost its two-strong board after media revelations about foreign trips paid for by drugs companies. The organisation was also criticised for the way it treated a whistleblower who went on to commit suicide.

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