Friday 27 November 2020

Watchdog criticises lack of competition between health insurers

Photo: Depositphotos.comThere is not enough competition in the Dutch health insurance market and new players are needed to improve consumer services, the Dutch competition authority ACM said on Wednesday.

‘Good, affordable healthcare is in everyone’s interests,’ ACM director Chris Fonteijn said in a statement. ‘Competition between insurance companies means consumers have a choice. There is room for improvement.’

The four big health insurance groups CZ, VGZ, Menzis and Achmea currently control 90% of the market through a variety of different brands. According to the ACM, there has been no new entrant to the market since 2006 when the current system was introduced.

Differences

In addition, some 70% of people have never changed their insurance company, the ACM said. This could be because they can no longer see the wood for the trees, the organisation said, given the great variety in policies with barely discernible differences.

The ACM is now researching possible obstacles to new health insurance companies and how competition can be improved. The follow-up report will be published in the autumn.

In total, the Dutch pay €40bn in premiums for basic healthcare a year, plus a further €4.4bn in top-up policies. Insurance companies are not allowed to reject customers and the government decides what should be included in the basic policy.

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