Private insurance explosion puts pressure on health service / News / The Foreigner

Private insurance explosion puts pressure on health service. “We must accept that death comes to us all,” says professor. The last few years have seen an explosion in the numbers of private health insurance policies. Over 200,000 Norwegians have taken out private health insurance policies or critical illness benefit, with a 55 percent increase since 2007.

health, directorate, bjoern, inge, larsen, insurance, illness, treatment, costs, priority, per, fugelli



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Private insurance explosion puts pressure on health service

Published on Tuesday, 8th June, 2010 at 15:35 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 8th June 2010 at 22:21.

“We must accept that death comes to us all,” says professor.

Giuseppe Moretti's 1922 Bronze Hygeia memorial
Giuseppe Moretti's 1922 Bronze Hygeia memorial
Photo: takomabibelot/Flickr


Explosion

The last few years have seen an explosion in the numbers of private health insurance policies.

Over 200,000 Norwegians have taken out private health insurance policies or critical illness benefit, with a 55 percent increase since 2007.

Bjørn Inge Larsen, director of the Directorate of Health, says treatment will be a matter of priority in the future, as the health service won’t manage to afford to care for everyone

“We need to start talking now about not being able to treat everybody with everything that’s available. We must be honest, and dare to discuss publicly that we’ve already said no to good but very expensive treatment, and have to face the fact that the gap between what we can do and what we can afford to do will increase significantly in times ahead,” he told Aftenposten at the weekend.

Division

Norway has always had an equal society, something which Steinar Westin, professor of social medicine at NTNU in Trondheim, (University of Science and Technology) fears is about to change when it comes to healthcare.

“Helping patients according to medical needs rather than economic means is an important cornerstone of the Norwegian Welfare State. This principle is now at risk,” he says.

Ole Alexander Opdalshei
Ole Alexander Opdalshei
Thomas Barstad Eckhoff/Kreftforeningen
Ole Alexander Opdalshei, assistant secretary-general of the Norwegian Cancer Society (Kreftforeningen), also believes prioritising will only create class division.

“There’s no doubt that some will choose to pay or insure for treatment themselves if the state rejects medical care based on cost. But this will lead to a segregated health system because many won’t be able to afford it. It's a ticking time-bomb.”

Unavoidable

According to Bjørn Inge Larsen, patients with cancer or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) will be hit the hardest by prioritisation.

Money-shortages will mean increasingly reduced access to heart pumps and respirators, and authorities have already refused treatments for malignant bowel cancer.

Medical care costs up to 500,000 kroner per patient, and only gives an expected six-month increase in life expectancy.

Professor of Social Medicine at the University of Oslo, Per Fugelli, says he believes people who are going to die should spend their remaining time coming to terms with it instead of chasing after new life-extending possibilities.

He has malignant bowel cancer, and things have been touch and go.

“It’s more important for me to create an atmosphere of realism characterised by peace and dignity around the last part of my life. Everyone wants to live longer, of course, but the last part of life is an important ceremony. We must accept that death comes to us all.”

Medical Treatment

2009

2008

2007

Individual contracts

Försäkrings AB Skandia

719

552

519

Gjensidige

1,391

972

660

If NUF

-

-

-

Storebrand

12,699

12,943

12,412

Terra

45

21

-

Trygvesta

949

777

25

Total

15,803

15,265

13,616

Group contracts

Försäkrings AB Skandia

17,765

22,857

18,492

Gjensidige

16,187

5,849

3,507

If NUF

19,150

12,013

16,584

Storebrand

32,345

31,378

20,403

Terra

-

-

-

Trygvesta

14,378

10,299

1,833

Total

99,825

82,396

60,819

Total all companies

115,628

97,661

74,435

Critical Illness

Individual contracts

Ace European Group Ltd. NUF

15,492

13,576

861

Frende Livsforsikring

2,771

2,427

-

Gjensidige

49,208

44,420

37,745

Nordea

37,551

32,653

29,520

Sparebank1 Liv

20,421

18,648

17,529

Sparebank1 Skade

-

-

-

Storebrand*

34,313

34,327

32,295

Terra

2,233

1,297

-

TrygVesta

726

672

643

Total

162,715

148 020

118,593

Group contracts

Ace European Group Ltd. NUF

-

-

-

Frende Livsforsikring

-

-

-

Gjensidige

741

483

431

Nordea

-

-

-

Sparebank1 Liv

-

-

-

Sparebank1 Skade

3,276

3,089

2,931

Storebrand

1,846

1,106

766

Terra

-

-

-

TrygVesta

1,287

741

700

Total

7,150

5,419

4,828

Total all companies

169,865

153,439

123,421

*Of which cancer ins.

Ace European Group Ltd. NUF

15,492

13,576

861

Storebrand

4,401

4,371

3,442



Published on Tuesday, 8th June, 2010 at 15:35 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 8th June 2010 at 22:21.

This post has the following tags: health, directorate, bjoern, inge, larsen, insurance, illness, treatment, costs, priority, per, fugelli.





  
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