Dutch Healthcare Authority: Health insurer must address waiting times

Health insurers need to do more to give their insured people the care they need on time. Research shows that the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) has sent to the House of Representatives. If people have to wait too long for care, it can lead to damage to their health.


Health insurers need to do more to give their insured people the care they need on time. Research shows that the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) has sent to the House of Representatives. If people have to wait too long for care, it can lead to damage to their health.

The NZa has sent all health insurers a letter with points for improvement that they must address in the coming period.

Inspectors visit again before the summer. If insufficient measures have been taken, the authority wants to issue warnings, so-called instructions, and disclose the names of insurers that fail.

In order to chart the efforts of health insurers, inspectors from the NZa made inspection visits to all health insurers in 2018. This shows that in mental health care people with autism and patients with personality disorders have to wait relatively long.

In specialist medical care the waiting times in ophthalmology appear to be too long and in hospital care the patience of people with stomach, intestinal, liver or eye diseases is tested.

According to the authority, regional cooperation is an important step, but not enough to reduce waiting times. In the context of their duty of care, health insurers are responsible for timely care for their insured persons.

Health insurers in the Netherlands: 'long waiting times have various causes'

In a first response, Zorgverzekeraars Nederland says waiting times are "very undesirable". "But thanks to health care mediation, in many cases insurers are able to shorten the waiting times of insured persons by several weeks and sometimes even months. Too long waiting times are caused by various causes, such as labor market problems or a lack of up-to-date and reliable waiting time information."

A year ago the NZa urged the hospitals to do something about the waiting lists. They also had to better inform patients about all options, how long their waiting time is and that it is sometimes wise to switch to another healthcare provider if, for example, they can arrange good help faster.

ref: nunl