Health care in the Netherlands

Health care in the Netherlands

Health care in The Netherlands is financed by obligatory health insurance and all insurance companies are obliged to provide a package with a defined set of insured treatments [ Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport ] .

This system came into effect in January 2006. For those who would otherwise have insufficient income, an extra government allowance is paid to make sure everyone can pay for their health care insurance. People are free to purchase additional packages from the insurance companies to cover additional treatments such as dental procedures and physiotherapy. These additional packages are optional.

A key feature of the Dutch system is that premiums are set at a flat rate for all purchasers regardless of health status or age. Risk variances between funds due to the different risks presented by individual policy holders are compensated through risk equalization and a common risk pool which makes it more attractive for insurers to attract risky clients. Funding for all short term health care is 50% from employers, and 45 percent from the insured person and 5% by the government. Children until age 18 are covered for free. Those on low incomes receive compensation to help them pay their insurance. Premiums paid by the insured are about 100 € per month (about US$145 in Jan 2008) with variation of about 5% between the various competing insurers.

Click [ here] to see an 8 minute government video explaining the health care system and which is the main source for information in this article. Warning: The video sound track is in both English and Dutch but an English subtitle track is visible if the T symbol is clicked in the video control.

Prior to 2006 (and since 1990) there were two separate systems of insurance finance, public and private. The public insurance system was paid for by a specific income tax. Everyone earning less than a certain threshold income could make use of the public insurance system. However, anyone with income over that threshold was obliged to have private insurance [World Health Orgamization: The WORLD HEALTH REPORT 2000] .

Between 1947 and 1990 there had been no private health insurance operating in the Netherlands [Van de Ven W, Schut F. Should catastrophic risks be included in a regulated competitive insurance market? Social Science and Medicine, 1994, 39(1): 1459–1472 ]


External links

[ Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport web site]

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