Since there is an inadequate response from healths insurers, hospitals and the Netherlands Healthcare Authority (NZa) on previous calls by the Dutch Consumers’ Association and Open State Foundation to disclose the prices of medical treatments, both parties jointly launched a webtool which will help consumers collect hospital prices in the Netherlands.
Consumers who share their hospital bills, will immediately see the difference between the price their own hospital charged and the national average for the same medical treatment. Bart Combée, director of the Dutch Consumers’ Association: ‘All consumers who underwent hospital treatments will have a piece of information in their hands with which they can help other consumers.’
‘People should be able to make a free and informed choice of their healthcare provider or health insurer’, says Arjan El Fassed, director of Open State Foundation. ‘Many people have no idea how much medical treatments costs while the vast majority of healthcare is paid for by public and collective funds.’
Combée: “In July we said that we would gather the prices ourselves if insurers and hospitals will not provide them themselves. One insurer and a handful of hospitals say they want to cooperate, but this is still insufficient. I am therefore proud that consumers can safely share their information and can gain insight together in the various prices.’
Hospital bills are always in the ‘my area’ of the insurer. To help consumers find this information, an instruction movie is made together with the online crowdsource tool. The information remains completely anonymous; no personal data is requested or processed. It is also possible to fill in multiple treatments. The only thing participants need from the ‘my area’ is hospital, treatment year, health insurance, nine-digit code of treatment and price.
In 2014 Open State Foundation filed a FOIA request with the Dutch Health Authority for the prices of medical treatments per healthcare provider. After the request was denied, Open State Foundation has appealed the decision of the District Court at the Council of State. The case will be heard in the autumn.