Health insurance changes on the way

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The Cabinet has signed a deal allowing healthcare insurers to choose whether or not to insure healthcare providers who are not under contract, a law which will be introduced per 2016. Previously, this was mandatory. Coalition parties PvdA and VVD signed with opposition parties D66, ChristenUnie and SGP, De Volkskrant reports. 

Under the current law, healthcare insurers are still obligated to cover 80 percent of a client's treatment costs when they choose to undergo treatment at a provider not under contract. The Cabinet wants to scrap this rule, and received majority support on it.

Under the proposed law, every healthcare insurance company will choose different specialists and institutions to contract. The availability of certain healthcare providers will differ per policy, and per company. A client may therefore have to travel far away to receive care, as the nearest hospital may not be under contract.

Some exceptions to the rule will remain as they are in the current law. The healthcare insurer may not, for example, decide on a client's "care close to people". Under this rule, the client can still decide which general practitioner, speech therapist, physiotherapist, ergotherapist, obstetrician, maternity care, district nurse, pharmacist, mouth care (unless a special treatment is needed), exercise therapy or dietician they want to go, regardless of which insurer the client has a policy with. The insurer has to continue to pay 80 percent of the costs for these treatments.

According to the revised law, in order to prevent neglecting certain groups, insurance providers will have to take into account the diversity of their clients when purchasing healthcare providers. Religion, philosophy and cultural background will all make a difference in choosing packages.

The new law will benefit those people who do not need a broad range of treatments or care, as these can opt for a smaller package, which will end up cheaper. The Cabinet insists that the choice of healthcare insurance providers will broaden under the new law. People can choose packages that fit their needs. If their needs are extensive, however, and diverse specialist treatments are necessary, then the package will be more expensive of course, but will insure all costs regardless of the healthcare provider.

The Cabinet has the intention to review the amendments in 2018.