Mutualities under fire: health insurance funds boycott local con …

Photo: © Clément Philippe

The health insurance funds already played a dark role in the Flemish contact investigation, and it now appears that they have even actively tried to boycott local alternatives. Flemish Minister of Health Wouter Beke (CD&V) was unable to justify their interference in a specially convened committee.

Local alternatives for contact research were given the green light on Monday after days of opposition. But there is more and more clarity as to why they have been kept aside for so long. The Agency for Care and Health was not in favor, but the health insurance funds – which organize the central contact investigation – were put on the brakes. This is evident from email traffic The newspapaer could lay hands on it.

These health insurance funds manage the Flemish contact research in collaboration with several call centers. Among other things, the investigators who come home if you are not available by phone come out of their ranks. “As a health insurance fund, we are close to the people,” was heard when the project started. It is striking that they now wanted to stop local initiatives.

Less money

Nevertheless, it is not illogical from an economic point of view, although the health insurance funds have always emphasized that they do not pursue profit. At the beginning of May, they won a monster contract of around 100 million euros to steer the contact detection in the right direction. Although they did not receive that much money in the end, they now receive about 500 euros per day per contact locator.

No wonder they felt cornered when local alternatives emerged like mushrooms. Because the less work for Flemish contact researchers, the less money in the pouch of the health insurance funds.

Use personal data

In any case, they are not ready for their test piece in this file. Already at the start of the contact investigation in May, questions arise about their role. The mutual insurance companies had stated in their submitted offer that they wanted to use the personal data of corona patients for their own activities. That passage was eventually deleted at the request of the Flemish government, but in any case it exposed worrying ethical choices.

Flemish member of parliament Lorin Parys (N-VA), a member of the majority, was presented yesterday in a specially convened committee that special role of the mutual insurance companies to Minister Beke. He was unable to unambiguously answer the pressing questions. “I don’t want to conduct intention processes. This is a clear framework that I support politically ”, it said. The Christian Mutuality, which takes care of the communication for the Flemish contact research, was no longer available yesterday to explain the situation.

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