The 2015 long-term care reform in the Netherlands: Getting the financial incentives right?
In 2015 the system of long-term care (LTC) financing and provision in the Netherlands was profoundly reformed. The benefits covered by the former comprehensive public LTC insurance scheme were split up and allocated to three different financing regimes. The objectives of the reform were to improve the coordination between LTC, medical care and social care, and to reinforce incentives for an efficient provision of care by making risk-bearing health insurers and municipalities responsible for procurement. Unintentionally, the reform also created a number of major incentive problems, however, resulting from the way: (i) LTC benefits were split up across the three financing regimes; (ii) the various third party purchasers were compensated; and (iii) co-payments for the beneficiaries were designed. These incentive problems may result in cost shifting, lack of coordination between various LTC providers, inefficient use of LTC services and quality skimping. We discuss several options to get the financial incentives better aligned with the objectives of the reform.