Coronavirus must not push health insurance premiums higher: Green party

Health insurance premiums must not rise as a result of the coronavirus crisis, according to GroenLinks. The green party is submitting an emergency law to prevent the bill for this crisis ending up being paid by citizens. According to the party, big business can cover this bill by scrapping plans to lower profit tax, RTL Nieuws reports.

The coronavirus crisis had a massive impact on healthcare providers. Hospitals had to incur many extra costs while regular, income bringing care was brought ot a near halt. Other healthcare providers like dentists and physiotherapists also lost turnover. Health insurers helped compensate for the missed income.

According to healthcare economist Wim Groot, Netherlands residents can expect to see that reflected in their health insurance premiums. He expects that annual premiums will be an average of 150 euros higher next year, he said in the Zorgvisie magazine. 

Minister Martin van Rijn for Medical Care previously did not want to speculate whether health insurance premiums would increase due to the crisis, saying that it was "not necessarily" the case and that it is "far too early to make a statement about that". But according to GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver, higher premiums are inevitable if politicians don't intervene. "We are facing a very difficult time. An economic crisis is imminent, so we need to ensure that people have more money to spend, not less," he said to RTL. "An increase in healthcare costs by a few hundred euros is for many people a very large part of what they have to spend"

Health insurers can use their financial reserves to limit premium increases, but they cannot cover all the costs the coronavirus brought with it. Klaver therefore wants large companies to help with that - scrap the plan to lower profit tax and use the money raised by that tax, he said. "Reducing the tax on profits of large companies cannot be explained in a time of impending economic recession," he said. 

Klaver rejected the idea that he wants to burden companies that were also hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. "This is about profit tax. So that means companies that still make a profit. And even today you can see that big profits are being made. It is impossible to explain that during this crisis, companies get a tax reduction, while the healthcare costs for people in the country are likely to rise."