The premium is an estimate of the healthcare expenditure required for next year. These costs increase, therefore the premium increases. Joep de Groot, chairman of the Executive Board of CZ explains: “The effects of the ageing population are becoming more and more apparent. Growing older is accompanied by a greater demand for healthcare, which costs more. Furthermore we see a significant increase in healthcare personnel costs. Healthcare staff are valuable workers and they deserve fair reward, but ultimately, that also needs to be covered by the premiums.”
Limited premium increase
CZ’s premium increase is lower than what the government expected when the budget was presented in September. The budget assumed an increase in healthcare expenditure of 5.9 billion euros, but CZ has made a more competitive estimate of the healthcare costs, thereby limiting the premium increase.
Use of reserves
In CZ’s view, having a stable premium policy is very important. In recent years, CZ used its reserves to cushion the premium increase. However, CZ does not think this is wise for next year, as the competitive estimate of the healthcare costs is accompanied by uncertainty about the actual healthcare expenditure. Not using the reserves will also ensure that funds remain available for investing in the transition to keep healthcare accessible and affordable in the long term as well.
Making changes for available and affordable healthcare
Healthcare today faces different issues than before. In practice, the ageing population means that more people require care from a relatively smaller number of healthcare providers. “This is only possible if we adjust our healthcare to suit the changing conditions,” says De Groot. This is why he wants to focus even more on keeping healthcare available in the next couple of years. “Across the country we see initiatives to ensure accessibility, and that gives us hope. Providing appropriate healthcare has a central position in the current transformation, and collaboration with healthcare and welfare organisations is essential. As a health insurer, CZ is collaborating closely in coalitions in a growing number of locations to ensure that everybody who requires healthcare actually has access to a healthcare provider. We no longer have the luxury of waiting.”
Everybody is involved
The challenge faced by the healthcare sector is significant. Everybody is going to notice. “This also means that we must be aware of what changing means to people. They are part of the change, and we will need to shape it together. This requires an open and honest discussion, about concerns and possibilities, but also about the impossibilities.” According to De Groot, the Citizens’ Assembly in the province of Zeeland is a good example of getting residents involved in the healthcare plans. “In Zeeland, residents have shown that they themselves are also willing to make a significant contribution to the healthcare transition in their province. At the end of the day, healthcare belongs to the people.”
CZ is a not-for-profit mutual insurance association. With over 4.1 million insured parties, CZ groep is the second largest Dutch health insurer. CZ groep is committed to keeping good healthcare in the Netherlands affordable and accessible to everyone who needs it. As of 1 January 2009, CZ groep also administers health insurance activities of labels Nationale-Nederlanden and OHRA.