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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Public Health -

EU clears aid to Dutch health insurance system

Public HealthMay 03, 05

The Dutch government won a green light from the European Union on Tuesday to put 15 billion euros ($19.30 billion) into a fundamental reform of the health insurance system in the Netherlands.

Health care spending has been on the rise in the Netherlands and is likely to climb further due to an ageing population, which is why the government wants a reform that involves state subsidies to private insurers.

The European Commission decision comes less than a month before the Dutch vote in a referendum on the bloc’s first constitution, with opinion polls suggesting a majority of voters may reject the new EU treaty.

Under the new system, which creates a single market covering 16 million people, health insurers will be obliged to accept all citizens and prevented from differentiating premiums.

The EU executive, which has to ensure that state aid does not distort competition inside the 25-nation bloc, said the planned aid did not go against EU rules.

“I am pleased with this initiative because consumers will be able to choose freely between different private insurance companies that all offer basic health insurance,” said the EU’s Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes in a statement.

To compensate the insurers for the public service tasks, Dutch authorities will introduce a permanent risk equalisation system, which aims to neutralise the different risks to the health insurers caused by their different client portfolios.

The 15-billion-euro aid package will also go towards compensating insurers for approximately 50 percent of the total health care costs, while the rest of the costs are financed by premiums paid by those insured.

As a one-off measure, health insurance funds will be allowed to carry over their financial reserves into the new market system as start-up capital before being turned into normal private insurers. The reserves are needed to meet solvency requirements imposed on insurance companies.

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