The basic insurance from health insurer DSW will increase by 11.50 euros per month to 149 euros in 2024. It is the largest increase since 2006. The health insurer is concerned. “If nothing changes now, we will pay 200 euros per month in a few years. This cannot continue.”
The premium for health insurance will increase significantly next year. According to DSW Zorgverzekeraar, this is because the wages of healthcare workers have risen, the demand for care continues to grow and more expensive treatments and medical devices are becoming available. Traditionally, DSW is the first health insurer to announce the health premium for the following year.
Last year, DSW managed to reduce the cost increase from the reserves. But there is now not enough money left in the cash for that. This brings the basic insurance to 149 euros, exactly the amount that the cabinet predicted on Budget Day.
At DSW, the deductible remains ten euros below the maximum at 375 euros. That is a principled choice, says director Aad de Groot; the health insurer believes that the deductible is much too high.
That is why DSW is now raising the alarm about the high health insurance premium. “We see that the premium is increasingly taking up more of people’s monthly costs. We are already receiving more requests for payment arrangements, people who cannot pay their deductible and patients who do not seek treatment because of the costs,” says De Groot. In addition, the healthcare allowance for people with lower incomes will be reduced to a maximum of 127 euros per month. “If nothing changes now, the premium will be 200 euros in a few years. This cannot continue.”
De Groot calls on other health insurers to stop competing with each other on price alone. “No one wants insurers to argue with healthcare providers every year about contracts.” What does this benefit the insured person, the DSW director wonders out loud. “Health insurers try to attract as many switchers as possible every year. But in the end they only compete with each other on price, not on content. This system no longer works. Anything I pay less, you pay more, because health care costs are not getting lower.”
According to De Groot, market forces have gone crazy and things really need to change now. It can be simpler and cheaper. Why does DSW have to negotiate with a hospital in Groningen? “We have one percent of the market there and do not know the healthcare situation there.”
Leading the way
According to De Groot, the two largest health insurers should take the lead and the rest can follow. “Yes, if as a health insurer you are not a market leader anywhere, you have a problem. But as far as I am concerned, we are always at the service of good healthcare. If that means that our organization is no longer needed, I will be the first to say: then we will stop.”
Isn’t it the job of health insurers to manage costs? That’s right, the DSW director acknowledges. “But do you keep healthcare affordable with strict ceilings, which means more waiting lists? Or is it better to collaborate and make long-term agreements? That’s where things keep going wrong in healthcare. We focus far too much on the short term.”
An example: DSW noted a few years ago that many children never went to the dentist. The health insurer has sent a letter to all those parents stating that the dentist for their child will be paid from the basic insurance. “Half of them now go to the dentist. And yes, that costs us money. But in the long term this prevents many health problems. We should not keep saying that we should make do with less, we should create the circumstances so that people have to rely on care less often.”
Payment per procedure also needs to be overhauled, he believes. DSW has been paying GPs differently for years. They receive one amount based on their patients and the care they need and can decide for themselves how they make ends meet. The advantage is that general practitioners do not have to bill for all consultations, can automatically take more time for patients who need it and have an incentive to practice prevention. De Groot: “That is also possible in hospitals.”
DSW also puts its hand into its own bosom. The health insurer no longer spends money on advertising to entice people to switch health insurers. DSW has not been working with comparison sites for some time, because they receive compensation for each switcher.
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and never miss anything from the stars.