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ACM Health Care Monitor: consumers perceive less choice between health insurance policies

01-06-2018

Dutch consumers have an unfavorable view of the opportunities they have when it comes to selecting the health insurance that best meets their needs, and whether such a process even pays off at all. These are some of the conclusions of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in the Health Care Monitor, which is an annual survey among a representative sample of consumers into the health insurance market. Each year, ACM studies the health insurance market. Consumer perceptions of the opportunities for selecting the best health insurance apparently do not match reality. That is why ACM wants that policies become easier-to-understand and easier-to-compare, and it will take steps to make that happen. Furthermore, ACM, together with the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa), will assess how much consumers can save by switching insurers.

The main conclusions of the Health Care Monitor

  • Compared with 2017, fewer consumers believe that the various basic health insurance packages differ in price, coverage, and the freedom of choice of one’s health care provider. These are the variables that they look at when choosing a health insurance.
  • More than half of all consumers do not look around for other health insurances.
  • A majority of consumers have no idea how much they could save each year by switching to a similar health insurance with another insurer.
  • Consumers expect to spend more time on comparing the various health insurances than they are willing to spend.

Follow-up study into health care policies

Together with the NZa, ACM is currently studying whether there were indeed fewer differences between policies in 2017 and 2018 compared with 2016, and whether consumers are sufficiently aware of the cheaper, comparable alternatives. Earlier, preliminary results showed that many consumers are able to save money by switching to an almost similar, yet cheaper alternative. The final results are expected to be published in the summer of 2018.

Focus on improving comparability

In order to help consumers in the switching process, ACM will take measures of its own to improve the comparability between policies. According to ACM, the so-called health insurance scorecard (in Dutch: zorgverzekeringskaart) can help consumer look around. These health insurance scorecards give consumers an overview of the most important aspects of a specific policy. ACM, together with other market participants, wants to make sure that it becomes easier for consumers to find, understand and compare this kind of information. ACM will help consumers with this through its consumer information portal ConsuWijzer.

About the survey

Find the Health Care Monitor here (in Dutch), which is the survey that was carried out by research agency Motivaction, commissioned by ACM, using a representative sample of over 1,500 Dutch consumers between the ages of 18 and 80. The results are representative in terms of education, age, gender, region, values, and family size.

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