Hospitals’ boss calls for new own risk system for simple procedures

Patients should not have to pay more than €150 towards the cost of a simple hospital procedure, says the chairwoman of the Dutch hospitals association NVZ in an article in Christian newspaper het Nederlands Dagblad.

All patients have to pay the first €385 of their annual hospital bill, but for simple procedures, such as blood test, this can be a hefty contribution, Yvonne van Rooy says.

By limiting the own risk payment to €150 per time, it would ‘take the wind out of the sails’ of those who want to abolish the own-risk element altogether, Van Roy says.

Getting rid of the €385 excess charge was a major issue in the general election campaign, although none of the parties involved in the coalition talks have said they want to do so.

Nevertheless, Van Rooy thinks ‘the own-risk element is too important a pillar of the solidarity principle to simply ditch,’ NOS quotes her as saying.

According to Van Rooy, simple treatments would include a visit to an out-patients clinic, blood tests or having an x-ray, which can often cost upwards of €250. Patients would pay the first €150 and the rest would be picked up by their insurance company.

There would be no charge for a follow-up within 120 days.

If they need treatment for something else simple, they would pay a further €150 and would then just have €85 left to pay for the rest of the year.

A simplification of the system would mean people would know exactly how much they were paying and would not get a hefty bill long after the treatment has taken place, Van Rooy said.