Health insurance CEO lashes out at Dutch authority

CEO for health insurance company Menzis, Roger van Boxtel says that the Dutch National Care Authority is not strict enough in reprimanding providers for tampering with their packages, making it difficult for people to transfer to providers. The healthcare system is a "ticking time bomb", Van Boxtel tells De Volkskrant in an interview. 

Van Boxtel says that insurance providers increasingly cover less people who they deem risky patients, which may become expensive. Clients who need extra care have to build up more assets, which deteriorates the competing position in the market of these social insurers. "If nothing happens, clients come to stand before closed healthcare counters. And the insurer who takes everyone one gets business economical problems", Van Boxtel says.

Roger van Boxtel announces that he is leaving Menzis in 2015, after leading the insurance company for ten years. His follower will be Ruben Wenselaar.

Menzis accepts requests for basic insurance and additional insurances. Van Boxtel says that insurers who set demands for additional insurances are not doing the right thing, because they then hinder applications for a basic insurance package, where risk selection is not allowed.

Van Boxtel accuses the National Care Authority (NZa) for not being strict enough in reprimanding this. The NZa has warned insurers such as Promovendum and Zekur who do hinder basic insurance applications. The NZa has said that insurers make extra demands with 20 percent of additional insurances, but whether this trend is increasing, the NZa is not sure.

Insurance providers are meant to cover all patients with mandatory basic insurance, without practicing risk selection. According to Van Boxtel, however, they shuffle money behind the scenes to cover potentially large risks.

Providers are allowed to practice risk selection for additional insurances. Patients usually get their basic and additional insurance from the same provider, which is not mandatory. Van Boxtel says that the risk assessment used to screen patients for additional insurance also counts indirectly for basic insurance. He wants his colleagues to "keep risk selection to a minimum. Or we'll all start doing it."

Minister Edith Schippers of Healthcare tells De Volkskrant that there are sufficient additional insurances without risk selection. Van Boxtel, however, says that the NZa fails by merely warning insurers. "They do pull the yellow card, but the red doesn't come out."