The basic health insurance policy is to be expanded to cover expert advice to help people develop a healthy lifestyle, health minister Bruno Bruins said on Friday.
‘The idea is that we can help someone who has diabetes, not by giving them insulin but by encouraging them to live more healthily,’ the minister said.
Practitioners who specialise in ‘combined lifestyle interventions’ or GLI – as the health ministry puts it – will be able to bill health insurers for their work from next January. GLI involves combating obesity by encouraging patients to eat less and take more exercise along with psychological help.
Some options will also be removed from the basic package, such as strong paracetamol pills of 1,000 milligrams, which are only available on prescription. Over the counter vitamin and mineral preparations will also no longer be paid for.
The government is responsible for deciding what the basic health insurance package should include and insurance companies are supposed to compete on price. They are also free to decide what to include in supplementary policies.