- Category: News
- Created on Friday, 22 June 2012 11:38
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
Health minister Edith Schippers wants to reduce the size of the equalising fund, which compensates insurers with the largest number of sick people on their books.
Researchers at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam say scaling back the fund will increase inequality in the sector and prompt insurers to chase the healthiest, most profitable patients.
The research commissioned by two patients’ organisations, found that one-third of the Dutch population have a long-term illness or condition which costs their insurer an average of €426 a year.
Patients who have suffered a heart attack cost an average of €1008, while those who need medical equipment represent an €800 loss.
People with a university education or who are still studying are the most attractive prospect, earning their insurers an annual profit of €140 per head.
Schippers wants insurers to take on more risk for themselves rather than rely on the state to level up the playing field through compensation payouts.
But the two patients’ organisations, the Federation of Patients and Consumer Organisations (NPCF) and the Dutch Council for the Chronically Sick and Disabled (CG-Raad) say that will create a ‘two-tier’ system of care, to the detriment of the long-term and chronically sick.
Insurers are legally obliged to offer the basic health package to everybody, but can turn down applications to cover more serious illness.
The patients’ groups fear companies will look for ways to shut out the unhealthiest patients in order to protect themselves from the highest-risk groups.
“As a result, the quality of care for people who are chronically ill will diminish,” they wrote in a letter to the Lower House of Parliament, which is due to debate the issue next month.
NPCF and CG-Raad want the government to bring in tighter controls to protect vulnerable patients from the effect of market forces in the healthcare sector.