Insurer under fire after refusing breast cancer treatment

Insurer Menzis often refuses breast cancer patients' requests for a chest bandage for painful fluid retention in their chest, even after a referral from a physician or therapists.

This is according to the Breast Cancer Society, who receives these patients' complaints, AD reports. "Thoracic Bandages are in the basic package and should be compensated if an expert asks for it", AnneLoes van Staa, president of the Breast Cancer Society, said to the newspaper. A Thoracic Bandage is a tight vest used by women who suffer from excess moisture after breast cancer surgery.

From this year Menzis started a stricter application procedure for compression devices and medicines, which includes these bandages. A spokesperson for Menzis told the AD that there has been a large influx in suppliers and intermediaries requesting these bandages, without the insurer knowing for sure whether the bandages are necessary.

Skin therapists think its fine to do a check before deciding on whether it would be compensated, but the check should be done by an expert and within a reasonable period. "Now patients sometimes have to wait eight weeks with a painful edema", NVH board member Hanneke Hendrikse said. Other insurers still compensate the bandages without problems, but NVH worries that they will soon follow Menzis example.