Friday 25 September 2020

Impact of Covid-19 on healthcare premiums still unclear, insurers say

The schemes aim to improve people’s financial health.

Health insurance companies have written to ministers to say it is still to early to conclude what the impact of coronavirus on healthcare premiums is likely to be next year.

In the letter, the insurers association ZN, says the organisation does not have an overview of the total costs. ‘Because no-one knows if there will be a new major outbreak of the virus, it remains difficult to predict next year’s premiums,’ the organisation said.

The government usually gives an indication of how much it expects premiums to rise at the presentation of the annual budget in September. Although the government determines the make-up of the basic health insurance policy, it is up to health insurance companies to set premiums.

The insurers also called on the government not to call a halt to competition in healthcare, arguing that the injection of market forces into the Dutch system has helped limit premium increases.

Health minister Hugo de Jonge has hinted that he would like to reverse some of the changes introduced in recent years. At the start of the coronavirus crisis, healthcare insurers and providers agreed to work together and share costs, and this, De Jonge says, proves that cooperation works.

The insurance companies, however, disagree, arguing that a collective response works well at times of crisis but not in the long term.

Flexibility and competition are ‘necessary to ensurer policyholders continue to have access to a wide range of affordable and high quality treatments,’ ZN said.

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